The Financialization of Real Estate
Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century has become one of the key books in contemporary economics and political economy. Although Piketty never mentions the financialization of real estate, his analysis of long-term developments as a “metamorphosis of capital” is indicative of financialization. This chapter explains the key role of mortgage markets – including a discussion of securitization – but also to the rise of investment vehicles such as private equity, hedge funds, listed funds and Real Estate Investment Trusts in both residential and commercial real estate. It discusses the role of the state in regulating and facilitating the financialization of real estate. Real estate has always been dependent on finance, whether one unit is purchased individually or as part of a larger portfolio. Real estate generally also acts as a highly valued form of collateral. Like precious pieces of art, real estate is considered to have a secure fixed value.