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The Financialization of the Housing Market

An International Comparison

An LSE London research project, funded by The Knowledge Centre for Housing Economics

Lead researchers: Prof. Christine Whitehead (LSE), Kath Scanlon (LSE), Prof. Michael Voigtländer (German Economic Institute).


From London to Vancouver, Sydney to Lisbon, declining local affordability and reduced access to housing are being blamed on financialization—the claim is that homes are increasingly treated as financial assets rather than as places to live.   UN housing experts have described financialization of the housing market as a threat to quality of life and democratic decision-making across the world. What is the evidence for this? Is financialization the only or major cause of increases in house prices and rents, or might it rather be an outcome of these factors?

Read our final report: Financialization in 13 cities: an international comparative report to learn more about our research findings.

Our case studies

On February 2021 we started investigating the financialization of the housing market in twelve cities across the globe (Auckland, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Dublin, Lisbon, London, Miami, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Vancouver).

This project, funded by Copenhagen’s Knowledge Centre for Housing Economics, involved experts in housing economics and policy from each city, representing a range of academic disciplines including sociology, economics and finance.

(Prof Christine Whitehead – London, Curt Liliegreen – Copenhagen, and  Prof. Peter Englund – Stockholm)

Our main research questions

We explored:

  1. the various understandings of what is meant by financialization;
  2. the role of international and institutional finance in the different housing markets;
  3. the impacts of deregulation of rents and finance;
  4. how cities have responded to the challenges; and how the fundamental issues might be addressed.


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