The Financialization of the Danish Andelsbolig Market

Mikkel Blichert-Hansen, Claudia Acevedo Reid & Daniel Renftle

Studenteropgave: Masterprojekt



The 2008 financial crisis placed housing at the center of finance and the financialization of housing at the center of people’s lives. Although it started in the housing sector in the United States, it quickly trickled down to every other place connected through the global financial system.
This project situates global finance and capitalism within the Danish housing system, in particular analyzing private cooperative housing or andelsbolig, as they were considered the last bastion of the Danish welfare associative-housing model and values. In doing so we hope to contribute to the general understanding of the processes of financialization by thoroughly combining the theoretical works of Karl Polanyi and David Harvey. Within Polanyi’s conceptualizations and theories we use the double-movement, market embeddedness and fictitious commodities. From Harvey’s theoretical work we mainly focus on capital as value in motion, the three circuits of capital, crisis of overaccumulation and their spatio-temporal fixes. Both authors have also been chosen for the additional emphasis they place on states as facilitators of markets as well as imbricate parts of the circuits of capital. State and markets, throughout our analysis, are closely interrelated. States thereby, are also in the center of the analysis of the process of financialization of the Danish housing, including the andelsbolig, market.
Giving consideration to space, Harvey is valuable to help understand the relationship between finance and the built environment. Financial institutions are central to housing, as both developers of real estate and buyers often depend on financial tools to finance their construction, purchase or spread of risk. Housing, however, can also be financialized by means of housing-price inflations, mortgaging and the securitization of mortgages or using housing as securities for financial products.

Through our Critical Realist methodological framework, we are enabled to best perceive the context, the agents, the mechanisms and the outcomes of what it is that we are studying. This is furthermore emphasized by the perception that empirical evidence can be better grasped by understanding the underlying structures and mechanisms, which also frames our study of the financialization of the andelsbolig market. In this manner, our work reveals that a shift in the Danish state from a more welfare-based to a more market-based, deregulated state could be witnessed. The major changes are often associated with the liberal-conservative government of the 2000s and their agenda of deregulation that targeted private cooperative housing. However, important changes had already paved the way in the years before. Most importantly, a 1987 tax reform facilitating homeownership. The 1990s saw a deregulation of the mortgage market and in 2001, along with more neoliberal reforms, the housing market was further liberalized and deregulated. Internationally, this was accompanied by surplus capital searching for profitable investments, for which states created the framework to be channeled into.

Our research also shows that the widespread deregulation had consequences for the andelsbolig sector, a somewhat ambivalent phenomenon, as on the one hand, members are by definition financially involved shareholders while on the other, in the past it involved less marketized structures and social responsibilities and collective organization going beyond mere financial relations for which it was considered a last bastion of the welfare state. The Andelsbolig as a form of associative-model of housing was created in the 1930s as an intricate part of the creation of the Danish welfare state. The foundational values of the Danish welfare state were represented in the values of the andelsbolig movement. Universality, solidarity and accessibility. Our analysis reveals how this picture was continually hollowed out through policy changes directly aimed at the andelsbolig and developments in the wider housing market of Copenhagen. This contributed to a shift in the function and perception of housing which now instead of fulfilling social goals, changed into a financial asset.
This shift was mainly facilitated by the Danish state. The crucial way in which this came to be was through a package of deregulation reforms, allowing for the financialization of the private cooperative sector in the beginning of the 2000s. Revealing the importance of states as necessary representatives of countermovement to market-oriented processes in the past. The protection that the associative model was given by the state shows the great power of financialization, as well as the importance of the need of organized countermovements to the market in order to assure a power balance. In conclusion, the global market dynamics of accumulation and the deregulation provided by the state shows how the process of financialization has influenced the Danish andelsbolig market.

UddannelserGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato17 dec. 2019
Antal sider30
VejledereTomas Skov Lauridsen