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After Lehman – Business Immo

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© Adobe Stock/Emanuel Corso

15 years ago, Lehman Brothers collapsed, the starting point of the biggest financial crisis since that of 1929. The bankruptcy of the investment bank was the consequence of the subprime crisis, which began a year earlier and which its roots in the explosion of the housing bubble in the United States. Not one expert imagined at the time the domino effect of this crisis or its speed of propagation.

Paradoxically, once the moment of astonishment had passed, real estate resumed its dizzying growth, taking full advantage of the accommodating policy of central banks, both through the fall in rates and through the influx of liquidity. Money so abundant and cheap that it has accelerated the disconnect between the performance of real estate assets and economic reality. Particularly in Europe, which has entered a cycle of low economic growth for several years.

Today it is this window that has closed suddenly on the fingers of real estate players, with a speed never seen before and even less imagined by experts. Unsurprisingly, the European Central Bank (ECB) this week raised its interest rates to 4%, its highest level since the birth of the euro, which some observers hope to see as a peak, but which most consider as a plateau. Christine Lagardethe President of the ECB, simply declared that « the key rates of the ECB have reached levels which, if maintained for a sufficiently long period, will contribute substantially to the timely return of the inflation to the set objective.

In the process, the European Central Bank revised its growth forecasts downwards. Same for the French government which lowered its growth forecast from 1.6 to 1.4% for 2024. The real risk is to fall into stagflation, a deadly scenario for real estate investment. Especially since the sector is at the dawn of its greatest challenge: the fight against global warming, which will involve the accelerated decarbonization of its assets. Perhaps it is more than a change in cycle that we are witnessing. A paradigm shift.


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