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HOUSING FINANCE IN SEVEN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES: FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS AND GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE

Peter Boelhouwer
Netherlands Journal of Housing and the Built Environment
Vol. 8, No. 4, Housing Systems in Europe (1993), pp. 405-420
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41107606
Page Count: 16
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HOUSING FINANCE IN SEVEN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES: FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS AND GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE
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Abstract

This contribution has a dual objective. The first three sections address the question of how government utilizes financial instruments for housing intervention in the countries under study. We concluded that the seven Western European countries show numerous similarities and differences, particularly in the manner and degree to which the government intervenes in housing by implementing financial instruments. In some cases, these variations are based on the same policy standpoints. In other cases, traditional views on the role of government with reference to (sub-sectors of) housing are also influential. The period this study takes into consideration (1980-1990) seems to be one of transition. It seems to mark a shift to a set of housing instruments in which individual, income-dependent government support will come to the fore. This development is already evident in some of the countries investigated. Several other countries intend to take a similar course in the 1990s. The increasing European integration will reveal the extent to which this development will become accelerated. The second element of the objective concerns the degree to which a relation exists between the government policy being pursued and the specific level of government subsidies. With reference to the first aspect of the objective, we may conclude that the policy positions formulated over the past decade are clearly manifest in government expenditure for housing. As a case in point, we may calculate an annual average of direct government subsidies expressed as percentages of Gross Domestic Product. If we rank these averages, Sweden and the Netherlands qualify for first and second place. The hefty government outlays in the Netherlands and Sweden clearly reflect policy goals forged in the 1980s. England follows Sweden and the Netherlands at some distance. Denmark and France take fourth and fifth place, and the Federal Republic of Germany and Belgium close the ranks.

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