Book Launch: Milestones in European Housing Finance, edited by Jens Lunde and Christine Whitehead

On Friday 1 April 2016 we held a seminar to celebrate the publication of Milestones in European Housing Finance, edited by Jens Lunde and Christine Whitehead at the LSE. The seminar was sponsored by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). Twelve of the authors and a similar number of experts and practitioners in the field of housing finance attended.

The main event was a roundtable on the latest evidence on how housing finance in Europe is developing. This was followed by a discussion around the book’s findings and how regulation and macro-stabilisation policies have been impacting on housing finance systems across Europe. The second session concentrated on how housing finance is affecting housing market outcomes across Europe. We then reviewed the evidence on the taxation of owner-occupation and the prospects for owner-occupation over the next decade. We concluded by discussing the possibility of doing a short comparative project comparing the tax position of owner-occupation with that of private renting across Europe.

The roundtable was followed by a reception where Mohammad Jamei from the CML welcomed the book which he thought would be both valuable and enjoyable for practitioners and academics alike.

The book consists of 25 chapters covering developments in countries across Europe together with Australia as a comparator. The impetus for the book came from the continuing analysis undertaken by members of the European Network of Housing Research Finance Working Group which started in 1990 and will have its twenty seventh meeting at the ENHR International Conference in Belfast in July this year. The overarching story was that: ‘Twenty five years ago housing finance markets hardly existed in many European countries and where they did they had been heavily regulated. The position started to change in the 1970s and in one or two countries there was significant liberalisation in the early 1980s but the shift towards a new set of actors and new instruments did not really gain momentum until later in the decade. Thereafter at global and European levels there were periods of growth followed by crisis in the late 80s and early 90s, jitters for some in the mid/late 90s, a period of stable growth followed by the global financial disaster of 2008/9 from which markets are only just recovering. However there were also enormous differences between countries both in the pattern of change and the outcomes for national housing systems’.

The book provides evidence on how housing finance markets have developed across Europe over the past quarter century.  It provides in one place detailed evidence and analysis for each country from experts, filling a major gap in the literature. In particular it brings together up to date material from across Europe which will help to clarify (i) how national housing finance markets have dealt with the challenges of deregulation and privatisation since the 1980s,(ii) how the financial crisis has impacted on the structure of the industry and the range of financial instruments available, (iii) how governments and the EU have responded to increasing risks and higher indebtedness in most West European countries and the need to grow new finance markets in Eastern Europe, and (iv) how changing housing finance markets impact on the capacity to provide adequate affordable housing into the future.

The country specific chapters concentrate mainly on understanding the sources of private sector finance for owner–occupation. In countries where the private finance market for social and private rental housing is well developed this will also be discussed. For each country the major milestones in the development of the market over the last 25 years are identified and examined. The chapters also look to understanding the efficiency and effectiveness of these national markets into the future.

There are four overarching chapters; an introductory one setting the economic and housing market context in which financial change has taken place; one setting out an analytic framework to provide a basis for drawing lessons for the European and global markets in finance and housing; and a concluding chapter bringing the lessons together to point to the future role of private housing finance, particularly as demographics and incomes change and housing wealth is realised for other purposes. In addition one chapter clarifies the milestones in European Union regulation which has become increasingly important in national housing markets over the last two decades.

The book can be purchased directly from Wiley in hardback or the whole text or chapters can be purchased in electronic form:

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