Wharton School, World Bank Group, and FMO of the Netherlands Launch Housing Finance Information Network Web Portal

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Philadelphia, PA— The Wharton School’s International Housing Finance Program, the World Bank Group, and FMO of the Netherlands have launched a new Housing Finance Information Network (HOFINET) Web Portal: http://hofinet.org/index.aspx

The aim of this portal is to make knowledge and data on housing finance available to professionals, scholars, and policy makers.

Drs. Marja Hoek-Smit, director of the International Housing Finance Program of the Wharton School, said, “Currently no international quality-controlled housing finance data exists, nor do many countries collect or accumulate housing market and housing finance information in one location. The recent crisis has shown the critical importance of the sector for the economy.”

The new website consolidates key information about Housing Finance Systems by country. The site is a primary platform for sharing housing finance-related knowledge products and will be continuously updated with fresh content provided by expert editors in charge of each country page and database, and housing finance theme. The site offers:

1) a COUNTRY CHANNEL that provides a description of the main features of each country’s housing finance system and statistical data on the housing finance sector;

2) a THEME CHANNEL that provides state-of-the-art short briefing notes on important housing finance topics by world experts, relevant cases and documents;

3) a RESEARCH CENTER that allows downloads of data across years and countries for statistical analysis.

The site provides blogging options for countries, themes and a general blogging space and links to relevant data portals in each country and other international housing finance web-portals.

The web portal is managed by an independent non-profit organization – Hofinet Inc, currently located at the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Its first director is Drs. Hoek-Smit.

HOFINET began with nine pilot countries from different regions and nine housing finance themes. The group is now working with 40 more countries and many more theme editors. They also have plans for site upgrading, including more advanced research and graphic capabilities.