Apostando la casa

En la práctica, en todo el planeta los propietarios de viviendas están apostando al precio de las casas. Los riesgos que corren en la actualidad suelen ser grandes, debido a las burbujas inmobiliarias en ciudades glamorosas como Londres, París, Madrid, Roma, Estambul, Moscú, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Sydney, Melbourne, Vancouver, Los Ángeles, Las Vegas, Boston, Nueva York, Washington, D.C. y Miami. Las burbujas pueden seguir creciendo o pueden estallar, dejando a muchos propietarios endeudados hasta el cuello.

El riesgo de los precios de las viviendas tras una crisis del mercado inmobiliario es real y sustancial. En el último ciclo de descenso de precios, los valores reales de las viviendas (corregidos con la inflación) cayeron en un 46% en Londres entre 1988 y 1995, 41% en Los Ángeles entre 1989 y 1997, 43% en París entre 1991 y 1998, 67% en Moscú entre 1993 y 1997 y 38% en Shangai entre 1995 y1999. Todas estas caídas terminaron revirtiéndose y estos mercados han entrado en auge recientemente. Pero esto no garantiza que las caídas futuras tengan un desenlace similar; por el contrario, el valor real que tengan mańana nuestras casas es fundamentalmente incierto.

La mayor parte de los propietarios no apuestan por placer. Compran bienes raíces simplemente porque necesitan hacerlo. Pero, puesto que no hacen nada para protegerse contra los riesgos de sus propiedades, se convierten en apostadores involuntarios. De hecho, en la mayoría de los países, quienes compran viviendas no hacen nada para protegerse (excepto vender sus casas) porque no hay nada que se pueda hacer. Recién está comenzando a aparecer un mercado de derivados de bienes raíces que pueda ayudar a contrapesar estos riesgos.

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