European bank stress-tests: third time lucky?
Systemic bank crises are always difficult to resolve. In Europe, the difficulty is compounded by cross- order interdependencies. Policy paralysis throughout 2009 and 2010 has resulted in precariousness the banking system that puts a serious drag on the old continent’s recovery. An even more dramatic consequence is to force the euro zone to systematically choose bail-outs over restructurings, whenever one of its members faces macroeconomic difficulties. Systemic banking crises are almost never self-correcting: even with low central-bank rates, retained earnings cannot plug all holes after a major shock. Unless one decides to commit an ever larger amount of tax-payer’s money, policymakers need to tackle fundamental banking problems, not the least in Belgium.
Housing in times of scarcity – Towards a renovated housing policy
Housing becomes ever more expensive for buyers as well as for renters. Johan Albrecht and Rob Van Hoofstat show – in a new Itinera Institute study – that the demand for new houses increases every year while construction of new buildings decreases. The tension on the housing market rises and it affects housing prices.
Urgent measures need to be adopted in order to improve the affordability on the buying and rental markets. Those need to insure an increase in the housing supply while improving accessibility of the lowest revenues on the rental market.
Itinera proposes that only rent subsidies coupled to new incentives for building new houses can offer a budgetary answer against the tensions on housing markets. The model of social housing is 4 to 5 times more expensive and has the very same results. Hence it is budgetary unsustainable.
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