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André Geis and Ms. Oana Luca
Soaring real estate prices and valuations despite the economic downturn brought by the pandemic have focussed the attention of Dutch policymakers on potential macro-financial and socio-economic implications. In this context, our paper reviews the salient features of Dutch commercial and residential real estate markets with an eye to identify pertinent risks and challenges. While we find that the Dutch authorities have made considerable strides to strengthen real estate-related policies in recent years, some, and partly long-standing, issues remain, requiring additional efforts to bolster financial stability, address housing supply shortages and manage secular changes affecting property markets.
Khalid ElFayoumi, Ms. Izabela Karpowicz, Ms. Jenny Lee, Ms. Marina Marinkov, Ms. Aiko Mineshima, Jorge Salas, Andreas Tudyka, and Ms. Andrea Schaechter
Many European economies have faced pressure from rental housing affordability that has widened social and economic divergence. While significant country and regional differences exist, this departmental paper finds that in many advanced European economies a large and rising share of low-income renters, the young, and those living in cities is overburdened. In several locations, middle-income groups also increasingly face rental affordability issues.
Francesca G Caselli, Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Weicheng Lian, and Mr. Damiano Sandri
Using high-frequency proxies for economic activity over a large sample of countries, we show that the economic crisis during the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic was only partly due to government lockdowns. Economic activity also contracted because of voluntary social distancing in response to higher infections. We also show that lockdowns can substantially reduce COVID-19 infections, especially if they are introduced early in a country's epidemic. Despite involving short-term economic costs, lockdowns may thus pave the way to a faster recovery by containing the spread of the virus and reducing voluntary social distancing. Finally, we document that lockdowns entail decreasing marginal economic costs but increasing marginal benefits in reducing infections. This suggests that tight short-lived lockdowns are preferable to mild prolonged measures.