SPERI PGR network talk with Desiree Fields

Distressed-as-Desirable Assets: Assembling the Single-Family Rental Market

Monday 8th June


Boardroom in ICOSS

s200_desiree.fieldsDr. Desiree Fields, lecturer in the Department of Geography, will be giving the next SPERI PGR talk on the issues below:

Since 2011, bank-repossessed properties littering the U.S. urban landscape have transformed rapidly from distressed assets into desirable assets. Large investors have acquired more than 500,000 foreclosed properties, capitalizing on low property values and surging post-crisis rental demand by converting formerly owner-occupied properties to rental housing. This paper examines the assemblage of discourses, practices, and technologies constituting distressed-as-desirable assets, and the emergence of counter-discourses problematizing this representation.

Corporate landlords mobilize discourses of “improving community” by stimulating local economies, stabilizing property values, and meeting contemporary housing needs. Their practices of large-scale, fast-paced property acquisition have opened up a pipeline for new financial products, with 18 rental securitizations completed since late 2013. Corporate landlords rely on technologies of proprietary software and algorithms to acquire properties, manage geographically dispersed portfolios, and continuously evaluate and manage their investments.

Thus properties once devalued by the spectacular bust of the global real estate bubble are being selectively re-valued as they are incorporated into new regimes of financial accumulation. However, counter-discourses from activists, housing advocates, and policymakers highlight the incomplete and therefore contestable nature of distressed-as-desirable assets, suggesting potential fracture points within this assemblage.

If you would like to attend, please email speri@sheffield.ac.uk.