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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. Last year, we have focused on testing empirically whether these ‘urgent’ measures have really contributed to a significant reduction in the number of foreclosures in the short term, and if this effect is transitory or permanent from a temporal perspective. We have also examined whether these law reforms have produced changes in the access to the mortgage loan, measured through the terms in the loan agreements since then (number of mortgage loans and loans average amount).

Some preliminary results of this project have been published in the international journal Housing Policy Debate. Using quarterly data from Spanish provinces from 2001 to 2019, our results reveal that the 2012 law reform (Royal Decree-Law 6/2012, including the Code of Good Practice for banks and financial institutions) 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 throughout the period under consideration: 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. Currently, we are exploring these spatial differences using unit root tests and cluster analysis.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 1
Communications at national conferences 1
Communications at international conferences -


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