Affordable Housing Finance by Kim Hawtrey (auth.)

By Kim Hawtrey (auth.)

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The process of securitization entails the bundling together of underlying mortgages and their removal from the originating institution’s balance sheet, with ownership transferred by sale to the wider investment community. Securitized instruments trade on the secondary market, where they are bought and sold by third parties, not by the originator of the underlying assets nor necessarily by the initial investor. The idea of securitized mortgage markets goes back at least to the early 1960s (Jones and Grebler, 1961).

Often, to the casual observer, it appears that these are easing the situation, yet that conclusion is not always valid. Consider the effect of GDP growth. Over time, average real household income in industrial nations has risen, and other things remaining equal, housing affordability should improve. However, other things have not been equal. While full-time employment has remained relatively strong in industrialized countries (at least prior to the global credit crisis) and average earnings have risen, generally in line with the consumer price index, the growth in national income has not been equally shared.

By October 2008, US financial institutions had incurred losses on their portfolio estimated at more than three percent. IMF projections suggest that by the time the dust settles from the current crisis, US writedowns will amount to as much as five to six percent of the portfolio. European banks also incurred huge loan writedowns. As of October 2008, Europe, as a whole, had already incurred a total of US$220 billion in loan losses, according to the IMF. This is equal to around two-third of the US losses of US$325 billion to date.

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