University of Cambridge > > Department of Geography - main Departmental seminar series > Who gets what, where, in the tangled world of housing finance: the vexed question of price

Who gets what, where, in the tangled world of housing finance: the vexed question of price

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The uneven, and increasingly unstable integration of housing, mortgage and financial markets tied households’ budgets to global financial flows to an unprecedented extent. This volatile mix, in turn, sparked the origins, and shaped the consequences, of unimaginable economic disarray. Accounting for this is nevertheless hampered by an ‘elephant in the room’ in the shape of home price dynamics. Few concepts so critical to the workings of the housing economy – so implicated in the accumulation and disintegration of global and local financial fortunes – are so widely aired, so assiduously analysed, and so little understood. In this presentation I argue that, notwithstanding significant achievements, economics has struggled to account for the history, geography and trajectory of home prices using tried and tested tools. At the same time, other disciplines, ostensibly well-placed to contribute, have tended to stand back. As the analytical task becomes more urgent, this paper assesses the scope for rapprochement. Can cross-disciplinary alliances – the kind that geography so often helps anchor – establish whether housing markets are driven by hidden hands, animal spirits or some other financial intelligence? And what does this have to do with creating more sustainable financial futures?

This talk is part of the Department of Geography - main Departmental seminar series series.

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