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Title: Transforming social housing into an asset class : the financialisation of English housing associations under neoliberalism and austerity urbanism
Author: Goulding, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 1589
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis analyses the financialisation of housing associations, with the aim of connecting the abstract and distant processes of property finance to how these are materialised in the practices of social housing provision. In doing so, a major objective is to show that financialisation is not an automatic process, operating as a rigid structural logic, but has rather necessitated an ongoing and active process of governance within the housing association sector. I argue that a fundamental component of this long-term process since the 1980s has been a re-imagining of associations as entrepreneurial, risk-taking enterprises. Governing financial risk has been a fundamental element of the conversion of associations into an asset class, with the need to safeguard social housing assets a major priority for the regulator. A key finding of this research is that as housing associations have undergone neoliberalisation, the powers of the regulator have been progressively eroded as lenders have emerged as a major interest group within the social housing sector. The financial crisis and austerity have deepened these trends, with austerity policies driving associations to commercialise their development programmes in order to protect their income streams. This in turn is driving financialisation within the sector as providers come to treat their land and housing as a pure financial asset, though development activity at scale still remains concentrated among a minority of large, London-based providers. This thesis has nonetheless found financialisation to be a contradictory process, with major risks building up within the sector as part of the commercialisation agenda and serious consequences for tenants as access to social housing becomes more restricted. The systematic transfer by the regulatory system of risk downward from lenders, to providers, to tenants, is therefore a crucial means by which financialisation has been maintained in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Supervisor: Blandy, Sarah ; Hodkinson, Stuart Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available