Housing Financialization: The International Landscape

The international housing landscape is increasingly financialized, and this presents an urgent challenge to the realization of the human right to adequate housing. To better understand this phenomenon, this report traces its political and historical development from the Bretton Woods Accord through the Nixon Shock and into the current central bank-dominated environment. It looks at changes to the international mortgage regulatory framework since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 and the impact on household debt levels. It details the main agents of financialization—such as shadow banking entities, sovereign wealth funds, and pension funds—and the various investment strategies they deploy: core, value-add and opportunistic. Finally, it analyzes how these international factors shape Canadian housing policy and how they impact the right to adequate housing, with a particular focus on the growing role of real estate investment trusts, or REITs.

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