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Economic implications of the new mortgage debtor protection rules and analysis of the familiy, demographic and economic consequences of participation in the housing market

Economics and Law

Senior Researcher : Rafael González Val

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad de Zaragoza


Since 2008, when the unemployment rate increased rapidly due to the economic crisis, the number of evictions and foreclosures rose until reaching a maximum value in 2015 that quadrupled that of the year 2008. As a result of the social pressure and the bad economic environment, the government and the parliament introduced several new rules, reforming the banking sector and creating new instruments to protect low-income mortgage debtors at risk of exclusion.

We comprehensive analyzed the effects of the Royal Decree-Law 6/2012, on urgent measures to protect mortgage debtors without resources, including the Code of Good Practice for banks and financial institutions, and its subsequent modifications. Considering quarterly data from Spanish provinces from 2001 to 2019, our results reveal that the 2012 law reform significantly reduced the number of judicial foreclosures, but that this effect was transitory, fading six years after the reform. However, the negative effect on the mortgage loans market was permanent (until the late 2019): the law reform reduced access to the credit market. We also find important spatial asymmetries across provinces in the effect of the law reform on both foreclosures and mortgage loans: although the change in the law affected all regions at the same time, the effect was uneven across units.

Furthermore, we analyzed the effect of changes in house prices on some crucial decisions for the individuals’ welfare. Our results, using aggregate data from Spain at the regional (provinces) and local level (municipalities with more than 25,000 inhabitants), reveal a significant positive relationship between house prices and divorce rates (divorces per 1,000 inhabitants) and fertility, while the relationship between house prices and marriage rates (marriages per 1,000 inhabitants) is significant but negative.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 3
Communications at national conferences 10
Communications at international conferences 19


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