September 19, 2014

We care too much about financing houses when compared with financing the jobs needed to the pay the mortgages and the utilities.

Sir, I refer to Martin Wolf’s “Deeper reform of housing finance is vital for stability” September 19.

Wolf writes: “Collectively, we have made a huge bet on leveraging up property. This has gone bad”.

And Wolf is indeed correct. But, while mentioning some important subsidies to house financing, why does he ignore the role that the so much lower risk weights assigned to it by regulators when calculating the capital requirements for banks play?

At this moment a bank that finances the purchase of a house is allowed to hold much much less equity, and can therefore earn much much higher risk adjusted returns on equity than when financing a small business.

That, considering the fact that lending to a small business could help to create the jobs by which house owners could service the mortgage and pay the utilities does not seem so very intelligent to me.