Real Estate, Finance and Urban Development (9): Financialization and Multi-dimensional Housing Inequalities amidst Covid-19

Type: Virtual Paper
Theme: Geographers and COVID-19: Setting Our Direction for the Future
Sponsor Groups: China Specialty Group, Economic Geography Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 29
Organizers: Shenjing He, Manuel Aalbers
Chairs: Manuel Aalbers

Call for Submissions

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has raised the spectre of an unparalleled global recession with unthinkable consequences. With a wide range of economic activities has experienced abrupt and severe crash, Covid-19 will no doubt leave a strong imprint in the global economy. Whereas we can see Covid-19-induced housing recessions in many countries, we also witness a further acceleration of house price increases in select countries. Long lasting housing inequalities tend to worsen in times of uncertainty, as also exhibited in the post-2008 global recession. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly changed the global geopolitics and an anti-globalization sentiment accompanying the rise of populism worldwide is expected, the further rolling out of housing financialization does not seem to cease to be a dominant mechanism in the housing market any time soon.

The intensified financialization since 2008 global financial crisis has provoked escalated concerns about the dominance of financialization in the global economic system and its ramifications in various spheres of the society, ranging from fiscal health to housing tenure structure and everyday life. Across a wide range of contexts, rather than witnessing a de-financialization of the housing market, we experiences a re-employment of property-led financialization to facilitate new waves of capital accumulation adjusted in the post-crisis context (e.g., Fields, 2018; He et al., 2020; Hofman and Aalbers, 2019; Special Issues in IJURR, 2017; HPD, 2020). As one of the financial instruments in the post-crisis context, housing, especially the rental housing, has been the key target of the global pool of investment, in which institutional investors (e.g. pension funds, private equity and real estate investment firms) as well as super-rich investors play increasingly dominant roles (Fernandez et al., 2016; Fields, 2018; Wijburg et al., 2018). The post-crisis financialization of (rental) housing has projected variegated impacts on housing affordability and instability for low-income householders and tenants (e.g., Fields, 2017; Vives-Miró et al., 2018’ Waldron, 2016). The uneven effect of financialization on housing opportunities creates challenges for vulnerable groups, such as migrants, the elderly, younger generations, to access homeownership, leading to the exacerbating housing inequality in the society.

Although it is still too early to predict the impact of Covid-19 on housing inequalities, it becomes clear that the disadvantaged are inevitably facing unprecedented and multiple socioeconomic vulnerabilities that may lead to ‘advanced marginality’ (Wacquant and Howe, 2008), e.g. less tenant protection and more rigorous control against rent default, declining public expenditure under fiscal austerity, increasing housing unaffordability due to reduced income, exacerbated unemployment and homelessness.

We thus propose to examine the exacerbated housing inequalities that may be (re)shaped by an advanced level of financialization and further fiscal austerity under the unprecedented economic recession induced by the once-in-a-century pandemic and the resultant anti-globalization movement. We are interested in papers closely scrutinizing how multi-dimensional housing inequalities, i.e. generation-based, tenure-based, and class-based inequalities are wrought under the ongoing economic hardship, the uneven geographies of global capital flows, and new forms of financialization anchored by governments in pandemic-stricken cities. Specific research questions include but are not limit to the follow:

1) How does the Covid-19-induced economic downturn affect housing affordability and housing tenure security for different social groups and age cohorts?
2) To what extent is the Covid-19 outbreak re-steering cross-border capital flows in the housing market and producing uneven housing outcomes, particularly the access to affordable (rental) housing, geographically and socio-spatially?
3) To what extent has the Covid-19 pandemic led to a policy reorientation in different locales in terms of espousing further steps of financialization and jettisoning so-called ‘tenure neutral’ housing policies that may aggravate existing inequalities in housing opportunities and outcomes?
4) How can we relate the state-led financialization of housing to the property-led financialization of the economy? How should we conceptualize the role of the state in these processes, and especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.


Description

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has raised the spectre of an unparalleled global recession with unthinkable consequences. With a wide range of economic activities has experienced abrupt and severe crash, Covid-19 will no doubt leave a strong imprint in the global economy. Whereas we can see Covid-19-induced housing recessions in many countries, we also witness a further acceleration of house price increases in select countries. Long lasting housing inequalities tend to worsen in times of uncertainty, as also exhibited in the post-2008 global recession. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly changed the global geopolitics and an anti-globalization sentiment accompanying the rise of populism worldwide is expected, the further rolling out of housing financialization does not seem to cease to be a dominant mechanism in the housing market any time soon.

The intensified financialization since 2008 global financial crisis has provoked escalated concerns about the dominance of financialization in the global economic system and its ramifications in various spheres of the society, ranging from fiscal health to housing tenure structure and everyday life. Across a wide range of contexts, rather than witnessing a de-financialization of the housing market, we experiences a re-employment of property-led financialization to facilitate new waves of capital accumulation adjusted in the post-crisis context (e.g., Fields, 2018; He et al., 2020; Hofman and Aalbers, 2019; Special Issues in IJURR, 2017; HPD, 2020). As one of the financial instruments in the post-crisis context, housing, especially the rental housing, has been the key target of the global pool of investment, in which institutional investors (e.g. pension funds, private equity and real estate investment firms) as well as super-rich investors play increasingly dominant roles (Fernandez et al., 2016; Fields, 2018; Wijburg et al., 2018). The post-crisis financialization of (rental) housing has projected variegated impacts on housing affordability and instability for low-income householders and tenants (e.g., Fields, 2017; Vives-Miró et al., 2018’ Waldron, 2016). The uneven effect of financialization on housing opportunities creates challenges for vulnerable groups, such as migrants, the elderly, younger generations, to access homeownership, leading to the exacerbating housing inequality in the society.

Although it is still too early to predict the impact of Covid-19 on housing inequalities, it becomes clear that the disadvantaged are inevitably facing unprecedented and multiple socioeconomic vulnerabilities that may lead to ‘advanced marginality’ (Wacquant and Howe, 2008), e.g. less tenant protection and more rigorous control against rent default, declining public expenditure under fiscal austerity, increasing housing unaffordability due to reduced income, exacerbated unemployment and homelessness.

We thus propose to examine the exacerbated housing inequalities that may be (re)shaped by an advanced level of financialization and further fiscal austerity under the unprecedented economic recession induced by the once-in-a-century pandemic and the resultant anti-globalization movement. We are interested in papers closely scrutinizing how multi-dimensional housing inequalities, i.e. generation-based, tenure-based, and class-based inequalities are wrought under the ongoing economic hardship, the uneven geographies of global capital flows, and new forms of financialization anchored by governments in pandemic-stricken cities. Specific research questions include but are not limit to the follow:

1) How does the Covid-19-induced economic downturn affect housing affordability and housing tenure security for different social groups and age cohorts?
2) To what extent is the Covid-19 outbreak re-steering cross-border capital flows in the housing market and producing uneven housing outcomes, particularly the access to affordable (rental) housing, geographically and socio-spatially?
3) To what extent has the Covid-19 pandemic led to a policy reorientation in different locales in terms of espousing further steps of financialization and jettisoning so-called ‘tenure neutral’ housing policies that may aggravate existing inequalities in housing opportunities and outcomes?
4) How can we relate the state-led financialization of housing to the property-led financialization of the economy? How should we conceptualize the role of the state in these processes, and especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.


References

Adelino, M., Schoar, A., & Severino, F. (2018). The role of housing and mortgage markets in the financial crisis. Annual Review of Financial Economics, 10, 25-41.

Fernandez, R., Hofman, A., & Aalbers, M.B. (2016). London and New York as a safe deposit box for the transnational wealth elite. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 48(12), 2443-2461.

Fields, D. (2017). Unwilling subjects of financialization. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 41(4), 588-603.

Fields, D .(2018). Constructing a new asset class: Property-led financial accumulation after the crisis. Economic Geography 94(2): 118–140.

He, S., Zhang, M., & Wei, Z. (2020). The state project of crisis management: China’s Shantytown Redevelopment Schemes under state-led financialization. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 52(3), 632-653.

Hofman, A. and Aalbers, M.B. (2019). A finance- and real estate-driven regime in the United Kingdom. Geoforum 100: 89-100.

Housing Policy Debate (2020) The financialization of housing in capitalism’s peripheries. Edited by Aalbers, M.B., Rolnik, R. and Krijnen, M. Issue 30(4): 481-701.

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (2017) The variegated financialization of housing. Edited by Aalbers, M.B. Issue 41(4): 542-641.

Vives-Miró S, Rullan O and González Pérez JM (2018). Understanding Geographies of Home Dispossession through the Crisis: Evictions Palma Style. Barcelona:Icaria.

Wacquant, L., & Howe, J. (2008). Urban outcasts: A comparative sociology of advanced marginality. Polity.

Waldron, R. (2016). The ‘unrevealed casualties’ of the Irish mortgage crisis: Analysing the broader impacts of mortgage market financialisation. Geoforum 69: 53–66.

Wijburg G, Aalbers MB and Heeg S (2018). The financialization of rental housing 2.0: Releasing housing into the privatized mainstream of capital accumulation. Antipode 50(4): 1098–1119.


Agenda

Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Shenjing He The University of Hong Kong 10 8:00 AM
Presenter Violaine Jolivet*, Université de Montréal, Ya viene otra crisis. Analyzing Havana’s housing market in the time of Covid-19 15 8:10 AM
Presenter Dennis Hof*, , Post-Covid-19 Housing financialization in medium-sized German metropolises. Analyzing the case of Leipzig. 15 8:25 AM
Presenter Fabian Terbeck*, University of Connecticut, The Great Recession and Suburban Poverty: Lessons for a Post-Covid World 15 8:40 AM
Discussant Manuel Aalbers KU Leuven 15 8:55 AM

To access contact information login