Real Estate and the Asian Crisis
This paper suggests that activities in the real estate markets in Southeast and East Asian economies were an important contributing force to the financial crises of 1997 in the Asian economies. The analysis relies upon unpublished data reported contemporaneously by financial institutions and market watchers to document the extent of the imbalances in the real property market that were evident to informed observers at the time of the financial collapse. The analysis argues that a series of reforms in the regulation of the property market and the treatment of real property loans by financial institutions are necessary to prevent the recurrence of the kind of speculative bubble that contributed to the financial crises in Asia. Given the recentness of the crisis, the nature of the data, and the absence of definitive statistical sources, the results are tentative, but they are certainly consistent with a financial collapse whose proximate cause was unchecked activity in the property market.
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