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[综合] 英语十分钟/疫情之下,房价为何只涨不跌?

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发表于 2020-10-20 12:57:09 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
来自“经济学人”

Why, despite the coronavirus pandemic, house prices continue to rise.
During the global recession a decade ago, real house prices fell by an average of 10%, wiping trillions of dollars off the world’s  largest asset class. Though the housing market has not been the trigger of economic woes this time, investors and homeowners still braced for the worst as it became clear that covid-19 would push the world economy into its deepest downturn since the Depression of the 1930s.
That pessimism now looks misplaced. House prices picked up in most middle- and high-income countries in the second quarter. In the rich world they rose at an annual rate of 5%. Share prices of developers and property-traders fell by a quarter in the early phase of the pandemic, but have recovered much of the fall.
Some markets are fizzing.In August house prices in Germany were 11% higher than the year before; rapid growth in South Korea and parts of China has prompted the authorities to tighten restrictions on buyers. In America ,growth in the median price per square foot accelerated more quickly in the second quarter of 2020 than in any three-month period in the lead-up to the financial crisis of 2007-09. Three factors explain this strength: monetary policy, fiscal policy and buyers’ changing preferences.
Consider monetary policy first. Central bankers around the world have cut policy rates by two percentage points on average this year, reducing the cost of mortgage borrowing. Americans can take out a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at an annual interest rate of just 2.9%, down from 3.7% at the beginning of the year.
Studies suggest a strong link between falling real interest rates and higher house prices. Some borrowers can afford to take out bigger mortgages; others find it easier to manage their existing loans. Landlords are willing to pay more for property, because yields on other assets have dropped. In both America and Britain,mortgage lending is running at post-financial-crisis highs.
That is not to say that it has become easier for everyone to borrow. In fact, obtaining a mortgage has become harder for many. Brokers, fearful of the long-term economic impact of covid-19, have pulled back on riskier lending. British banks, for instance, are offering fewer high-loan-to-income mortgages. In America few loan officers at banks said they were tightening lending standards before the pandemic; now 60%do. In contrast with previous periods of strong house-price growth, there is little evidence of lax lending standards.
Fiscal policy, the second factor, may therefore be more important in explaining buoyant prices. In a normal recession, as people lose jobs and their incomes fall, foreclosures drag house prices down—not only by adding to the supply of houses on the market, but also by leaving ex-homeowners with a blemish on their credit history,making it harder for them to borrow again.
But this time governments in rich countries have preserved households’ incomes. Hand outs through wage subsidies, furlough schemes and expanded welfare benefits amount to 5% of GDP.In the second quarter of the year households’disposable incomes in the G7 group of large economies were about $100bn higher than they were before the pandemic, even as jobs disappeared by the millions.
Other measures directly support the housing market. Spain, for instance, has allowed borrowers to suspend their mortgage repayments.  Japan’s regulators have asked banks to defer principal repayments on mortgages, and the Netherlands temporarily banned foreclosures.
In the second quarter the number of owner-occupied mortgaged properties that were repossessed in Britain was 93% lower than in the same period in 2019, the result of policies that dissuade repossessions. In America foreclosures, as a share of all mortgages, are at their lowest level since1984.
The third factor behind the unlikely global housing boom relates to changing consumer preferences. In 2019 households in the median OECD country devoted 19% of spending to housing costs.With a fifth of office workers continuing to work from home, many potential buyers may want to spend more on a nicer place to live. Already there is evidence that people are upgrading their household appliances.
People also seem to be looking for more space—which,all else being equal, raises house prices. Though the New York and San Francisco housing markets look weak, there is little wider evidence to support the idea that people are fleeing cities for the suburbs, at least in America.
Data from Zillow, a housing market place, suggest urban and suburban property prices are rising at roughly the same pace; price growth in the truly get-away-from-it-all areas is actually slowing. It seems more likely that people are looking for bigger houses near where they already live. In Britain prices of detached houses are rising at an annual rate of 4%, compared with 0.9% for flats, and the market for homes with gardens is livelier than for those without.

Can house prices continuetheir upward march? Governments are slowly winding down their economic-rescue plans, and no one knows what will happen once support ends. But lower demand for housing may run up against lower supply. High levels of economic uncertainty deter investment: in America house building has fallen by 17% since covid-19 struck. The experience of the last recession suggests that even when the economy recovers, construction lags behind. It may take more than the deepest downturn since the Depression to shake the housing market’sfoundations.
参考译文:

为何在新冠肺炎疫情肆虐之下,全球房价还能继续上涨
  十年前的全球经济衰退,真实房价平均跌幅达10%,使得房产这一全球最大的资产类别直接蒸发了数万亿美元。尽管房地产市场并不是此次经济危机的导火索,但投资者和房主们仍然做好了最坏的打算,显而易见,新冠肺炎疫情将使世界经济陷入自上世纪30年代大萧条以来的最严重的衰退。
  现在看来,这种悲观情绪是种误判。今年二季度,大多数中高收入国家的房价都有所回升。而发达国家更是以年5%的速度上涨。在疫情爆发初期,房地产开发商和交易商的股价下跌了25%,但如今大部分又涨了回来。
  一些地区的房地产市场火爆。8月,德国房价比去年同期上涨了11%;韩国和中国部分地区房价的快速上涨促使当局收紧了对购房者的限制。在美国,2020年二季度房价(每平方英尺价格的中位数)增速比2007-2009年金融危机爆发前的任何一个季度都要快。房价的上涨势头可以从三方面来解释:货币政策、财政措施以及买家的偏好变化。
  先看货币政策。今年各国央行将政策利率平均下调了两个百分点,从而降低了抵押贷款的成本。美国人能够以每年2.9%的利率获得30年期固定利率抵押贷款,而年初利率为3.7%。
  研究表明,实际利率的下降与房价上涨密切相关。有的因而得以承担更多的抵押贷款;有的也可以更容易承担现有贷款。人们愿意将更多的钱投入房产,因为其他资产的收益率正在下降。美国和英国,抵押贷款的数量目前都处于金融危机后的最高水平。
   这并不是说所有人都容易贷款,实际上许多人更难抵押贷款了。由于担心新冠肺炎疫情对经济产生长期影响,放贷公司已经减少了高风险贷款的放出。例如,英国的银行正在减少高负债比抵押贷款的放出。在美国,疫情爆发前很少有信贷员会说银行收紧了贷款标准;而现在有60%的信贷员都会这么说。与房价爆发式增长前期相比,如今没有贷款标准放宽的迹象。
  第二个因素(财政措施)或许更能解释房价的上涨。在通常的经济衰退中,当人们失去工作、收入下降时,房产止赎会使房价下跌——这不仅使市场上的房屋供应有所增加,还会在前房主的信用记录上留下污点,使他们很难再次贷款
但这一次,发达国家对家庭收入予以了保护,通过工资补贴、休假计划和扩大福利发放使补贴资金达GDP的5%。今年二季度,由大型经济体组成的七国集团中,虽然有数百万人失去了工作,但家庭可支配收入却比疫情爆发前高出约1000亿美元。
还有一些国家直接对房地产市场采取支持措施。例如,西班牙允许借款人暂停偿还抵押贷款。日本监管机构已经要求银行推迟抵押贷款本金的偿还,荷兰则暂时禁止房屋止赎。
通过劝阻收回房产政策的实施,英国二季度收回的业主自住抵押房产数量相比2019年同期减少了93%。在美国,抵押贷款发生止赎的比例处于1984年以来的最低水平。
全球房地产出人意料繁荣背后的第三个因素与消费者偏好的变化有关。2019年,世界经合组织成员国中等收入家庭的住房成本占家庭支出的19%。如今20%的上班族仍继续在家办公,许多潜在购房者愿意花更多的钱住上环境更好的房子。现有证据表明,人们正在对家用电器进行升级。
人们似乎也在寻求更大住房空间,在其他条件相同的情况下,这也会使房价上涨。尽管纽约和旧金山的房地产市场看似疲软,但至少就美国而言,几乎没有证据表明人们正在从城区迁往郊区。
房地产网站Zillow 的数据显示,城区和郊区房价的上涨速度大致相同;而在那些真正远离城市的地区,房价的上涨实则在放缓。人们似乎更倾向于在他们过去居住的区域附近寻找更大的房子。在英国,独栋别墅的价格正在以年4%的速度上涨,而公寓式住宅的涨幅仅为0.9%,并且带有花园的房子比不带花园的房子更受人青睐。
房价还会继续上涨吗?各国政府正在逐步缩减经济救助计划,没有人知道一旦援助停下将会发生什么。但住房需求的减少可能会与住房供应的减少一并出现。经济的高度不确定性将会抑制投资:疫情爆发以来,美国的新建住房减少了17%。上一次经济衰退的经验表明,或许经济都开始复苏了,但建筑业复苏滞后。或许只有发生比大萧条时期更为严重的经济衰退,才会动摇房地产市场的根基。

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