Marja c. Hoek-smit

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Curriculum Vitae
Director, International Housing Finance Program, The Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Doctoraal Degree, Social Anthropology and Social Geography, University of Amsterdam, 1971.

Kandidaats Degree, Social Geography, University of Amsterdam, 1965.

Post-graduate work (non-degree), Urban Anthropology, University of Stockholm, 1972-74


1985 - present Director/Founder, International Housing Finance Program, The Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (before 1995 located at the Fels Center of Government).

2008 – present Executive Director /Founder / HOFINET, an web portal for global housing finance information and statistical data.

1999~ present Adjunct Professor, Real Estate Department, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

1979 - 2012 Adjunct faculty, Department of City and Regional Planning, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania.

1974 - 1978 Senior Lecturer, University of Nairobi, Kenya.

1976 – 1978 Recipeint of a ZWO Research Grant to study Informal Housing Markets in Kenya

Member of the Graduate Group of the Lauder Institute, Wharton School
Teaching Award: 2009 G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching by a member of the practicioner faculty. School of Design, University of Pennsylvania.

Annual Executive Education course “Improving Housing Finance Systems” 1985-present

Annual Workshop on “Securitization and Mortgage Bonds” 2004-present

Annual course in “Expanding Housing Finance Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa” 2000-/-present (with Cape Town University in South Africa).

Special courses in Argentina, Asia Pacific Forum for Habitat for Humanity, Myanmar, Haiti, Central Asia (Uzbekistan), China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Brazil, Mexico, Carribean (Jamaica and Bahamas), South Africa, East Africa (Uganda, Kenya), The World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank.

Memorandum of Understanding between the IHFP, Wharton School and the World Bank for mutual support in relevant teaching and research activities 2006-2010.


HOFINET is an open access webportal that brings together standardized data and information on global housing and housing finance systems by country and topic. It covers more than 140 countries and works with 80 country and topic editors who provide content. Hofinet received start up funding from the World Bank, The International Finance Corporation, and FMO and is supported by the Wharton School.


2015- present The Housing Commission of the Republic of Mexico

Review of current housing subsidy system linked to locational characterisitics of housing developments.

2015 –present Government of Indonesia/World Bank

Work with GOI to expand mortgage lending for middle-income segment by the banking sector and non-bank finance companies and assist in product/procedural design of micro-finance for housing; assist with reforms and design of finance-linked housing subsidy systems.

2013-present Government of South Africa

Support South African National Treasury with policy work related to its Cities Support Program. Develop demand-side subsidy program for the low/middle income population. Conduct workshops for National Treasury and Department of Human Settlements.

2007- present Government of Egypt/World Bank

Assist GOE with the development of mortgage linked housing subsidy system;

prepare loan proposal for $300 million; work with transitional and subsequent governments on design of housing policies and programs.

A second project includes the design of rental housing subsidies, the development of Public Private Partnerships for housing, and strategies to improve the location of low/middle income housing.

2014- 2015 Government of the Philippines/World Bank

Advise GOP on harmonizing and integrating its various housing subsidy programs. Conduct training programs.

2013, 2015 Habitat for Humanity & Wharton School

Short course on Housing Finance during the 4th and 5th Asia Pacific Housing Forum, Habitat for Humanity, The Philippines and Hong kong

2013- Asian Development Bank/Government of Myanmar

Conducting workshops on Housing Finance for government officials. Advising on a newly established Government Housing and Development Bank.

2013 Government of Mongolia

Consultation on low income housing policies and subsidies; housing finance system

2011- 2013 World Bank/ Government of Haiti

Advisary work on Housing Subsidy Policy/ workshop on Subsidy Policy for donors and local officials/ paper on the housing finance system

2010 FINMARK Trust South Africa

Advise for GoSA on policies to facilitate private sector housing lending to middle and low-middle income groups.

2009-2011 Government of Mexico

Advise on new strategic plan for Low-Income Market Penetration for Sociedad Hypothecaria Federal.

Advise on the Structure of the Housing Finance System for Hacienda/ Ministry of Finance.

2009 Government of Brazil

Advise on Million Houses Program as economic stimulus, Minha Casa Minha Vida.

2008 Community Led Infrastructure Finance Facility (CLIFF)/London

Feasibility review for the expansion of CLIFF investments in low and lower middle income countries.

2008 Government of Columbia/World Bank

Advise on large-scale land development policies for mixed-income housing.

2006-2007 Government of Peru/World Bank

Assist GOP with the adjustment of their Housing Subsidy Programs and Policy.

2006-2007 Government of Mexico

Assist the transition team of the incoming government with the development of the new housing policy. Prepare White papers on Subsidy Policy fro SHF.

2006 Government of South Africa

Prepare overview of international cases of housing subsidies for the GOZ’s Treasury Department, with a special focus on rental and fiscal subsidies/conduct workshop.

2005-2006 World Bank and UNHabitat, Government of Indonesia

Study of the housing finance system in Indonesia.

2002–2008 Government of Mexico/World Bank

Assist in the reform of government housing and housing finance institutions and housing subsidy programs. Support preparation of $500 million policy adjustment loan. Support technical assistance and supervisory missions.

2002-2007 Government of Brazil/World Bank

Assist in the development of a new social housing and housing finance policy for the country. Help prepare policy adjustment loan of $1.2 billion. Support technical assistance and supervisory missions. Conduct workshops and ongoing advisory services.

2001- 2002 Government of Indonesia

Lead consultant for the “Enabling Housing Markets to Work in Indonesia” project. Jointly with a group of international and local experts formulated and “workshopped” a comprehensive set of housing policies, strategies and new housing assistance programs to gradually improve the operation of the moderate and low-income housing and housing finance sector.

2001 Inter American Development Bank/Government of Trinidad & Tobago

Assist in the design of alternative housing subsidy programs, replacing the NHA direct construction programs and improving existing slum-improvement efforts.

2000/01 Government Housing Bank of Thailand/ World Bank

Lead consultant for the Home-Owner Assistance Project. The project assessed existing social housing programs and developed a conceptual design and feasibility analysis for a new set of homeowner assistance programs and alternative instruments.

2000/01 National Housing Finance Corporation, Government of South Africa

Assist in identifying the reasons for the current credit and housing delivery gap for low-and middle-income groups and in developing strategies to “unblock” the delivery of housing finance.

Numerous other consulting projects from 1982 onward, particularly in countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Coted’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria), South and East Asia (Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, The Philippines) and the Caribbean (Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago); see full CV.



Marja C. Hoek-Smit and Douglas B Diamond, An Illustrated Guide to Housing Finance Subsidies, ebook 2013

Marja C. Hoek-Smit, Housing Finance Mechanisms in Indonesia, UNHabitat, 2006

  • Connecting Public and Private Sectors in Housing Finance, in, Ingrid Matthaus-Maier and J.D. von Pischke eds., Finanancing Housing for the Poor: Connecting Low-Income Groups to Financial Markets, , Springer Verlag, Berlin/New York, 2013.

  • Housing Finance Subsidies, in, Loic Chiquier and Michael Lea eds., Housing Finance in Emerging Market Economies, World Bank, 2009

  • The Housing Finance Sector in Indonesia, in, Financial Sector Development in Asia, World Bank flagship publication, 2006.

  • Government Support to the Housing Finance Sector; An International Perspective, in, Housing Finance Markets in Transition Economies, Trends and Challenges, OECD, Paris, 2005.

  • Subsidizing Housing or Housing Finance? paper for the Hong Kong International Housing Conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of the HKHA, in, HKHA 50 Years, February 2004.

  • Housing Finance in Bangladesh, Improving Access to Housing Finance by Middle and Lower Income Groups, in, The Housing Sector in Bangladesh, the Center for Urban Studies and UNDP/UNCHS, Bangladesh, 2000.

Journal Articles

Marja C. Hoek-Smit and Douglas B. Diamond, Subsidizing Housing Finance, in, Housing Finance International, Vol.XVIII/No 2, June 2003, London, IUHF, UK.

Sample of Professional Reports

  • Opening-Up the Lower-Middle Income Housing Market in South Arica: The Role of Demand-Side Subsidies, A Report for the Department of the National Tresury, Republic of South Africa, May 2016

  • Analysis and Recommendations to Improve the Efficiency of the Upfront Subsidy Program, CONAVI, Government of Mexico, March 2016, with Angelica Nuenez.

  • Inclusive Housing Finance – Affordable Housing, Report for UNHabitat, Housing Finance Input for Habitat III, February 2015

  • A Housing Bank for Myanmar: Strategic Considerations. For the Government of Myanmar, Myanmar, August 2013.

  • Options for Expanding Access to Housing Finance in Haiti. For the Government of Haiti, March 2013.

  • The Structure of the Housing Finance System in Mexico, with Loic Chiquier, Michal Lea. For the Ministry of Finance, Government of Mexico, 2011.

  • An Assessment of Sociedad Hypothecaria Federal’s Affrodable Housing Strategies, with Loic Chiquier and David Porteous. For SHF, Government of Mexico,2010.

  • Affordable Housing Finance in Egypt, Project Document World Bank, with Claude Taffin and Simon Walley. World Bank and Rebublic of Egypt. 2009.

  • Subsidies for the MacroProyectos Program in Columbia, World Bank. 2008.

  • White Paper on Housing Subsidies, No.1 and No.2, Government of Mexico/ World Bank, 2006 and 2007

  • Assessment of the Guarantee and Subsidy Fund, Ministry of Investment, Gvt. of Egypt, 2007

  • Housing Policies and Subsidy Programs in Peru, World Bank, Government of Peru, 2007

  • International Best Practice in Subsidizing Owner-occupied and Rental Housing, Treasury Department, Government of South Africa, 2006

  • Project document for the Housing and Urban Development Policy Loan to the Government of Mexico, World Bank 2004 and 2005 with Abhas Jha, Angelica Nunez and others.

  • Housing Subsidy Policy for Russia, World Bank paper, 2004

  • Brazil’s National Housing Policy: Maintaining Momentum for Reform, 2002, with Loic Chiquer, Douglas Diamond and Mila Freire, World Bank, LAC, Washington DC.

  • Implementing Indonesia’s New Housing Policy: The Way Forward, Findings And Recommendations of The Technical Assistance Project “Policy Development For Enabling The Housing Market To Work In Indonesia (HOMI)”, Menpera, Government of Indonesia and Summary for The World Bank, Washington DC, 2002.
  • Home Ownership Assistance Programs for Thailand: A Feasibility Study, Prepared for The Government of Thailand, Ministry of Finance, the Government Housing Bank and The World Bank, 2001.

  • Unblocking Finance For Affordable Housing in South Africa, with Douglas B. Diamond, the National Housing Finance Corporation and The International Housing Finance Program, Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania, 2000.
  • Options For A Homeowner Assistance Program For The Philippines, with Douglas B. Diamond. March, 2000

For Publications and Reports before 2000 see full CV

INVITED LECTURES/KEYNOTES (selection from 2000 only)

  • Addressing the Funding Gaps in the Implementation of the Urban Agenda of Habitat III , speaker at the workshop “Advancing the New Urban Agenda in a Shifting World”, Perry World House, December 2016.

  • Wharton, Tanoto Foundation and University of Indonesia Conference on Urbanization, Urban Housing  and Housing Finance in Indonesia, presenter,Jakarta, November 7, 2016

  • Workshop on Housing Markets and Housing Subsidies, for Government of Argentina, September 2016

  • Workshop on reforms of housing subsidies: from supply- to demand-side subsidies, Pretoria May 2016

  • Housing for all by 2030, Panelist at the 7th World Bank Global Housing Finance Conference “Housing 2030”, Washington DC, May 2016

  • International Housing Initiatives: The Global View, Panelist at the ULI Global Exchange Council meeting, Philadelphia April 2016

  • How to Combat Housing Inequality: Focus on Emerging Market Countries, Keynote for the International Housing Association 2016 Annual Meeting, National Association of HomeBuilders, Washington DC Februaary 2016

  • International Strategies for Affordable Housing, panelist, Urbanization and Sustainable Development Conference, Perry World House and Penn Institute for Urban Research, November 2015

  • Workshop on Housing Finance for South East Asia, for Habitat for Humanity, Hong kong, September, 2015

  • Making Markets Work for the Poor. Speaker and Moderator at the 5th Asia Pacific Housing Forum of Habitat for Humanity, Hong Kong September, 2015

  • Inclusive Housing Finance – Affrodable Housing, Keynote, Global Expert Group Meeting “Ways Forward to Achieving Affordable and Inclusive Housing Finance for All”, UNHabitat Barcelona, Spain, December 2014

  • Inclusive Housing and Dynamic Cities:Markets and Policies. Keynote for the 6th FIVS Congress, INFONAVIT, October 28, 2014

  • Infrastrucutre Needs in the MENA Region, Wharton MENA Conference, April 2014

  • New Wine in Old Bottles; Government Housing Policy Revisited, Keynote, International Federation for Housing and Planning Conference, The Hague, February 2014

  • Mortgage Finance: How Low Can It Go?, Speaker and Panel moderator at the 4th Asia Pacific Housing Forum of Habitat for Humanity, Manilla, the Philippines, October 4, 2013

  • Inclusive Housing and Housing Finance: Key Lessons and challenges, NHB Inaugural Annual Lecture, 25th Anniversary of the National Housing Bank of India, New Delhi, July 16, 2013

  • Housing Policies and Strategies in Egypt 2013-2027, Presentation at the Housing Policy Workshop of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Egypt, June 2013

  • Financing Middle – and Low-Income Housing in Haiti, Presentation at the Haiti Forum, World Bank, June 2012

  • Housing Finance, Risk Mitigation and Post-disaster Reconstruction, Presentation at the 5th World Bank Housing Finance Conferences, Washington DC, May 2012

  • Scaling up Housing Finance in Africa, Presentation at the Workshop on Urban Mass Housing in Africa, Center for the Study of African Economies, Oxford University, UK, March 2012

  • Housing Finance for the Poor: The Impact of Climate Change and Disasters, Keynote, Asia Pacific Housing Forum, Internationa Federation of the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanities, Bangkok, September 2011.

  • Moving Forward on Housing Finance in Nigeria, Summary Statement, Round Table on Housing Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria, Abudja, Nigeria, August 2011.

  • From Emergency Programs to Subsidy Strategy in Haiti, Workshop on Subsidy Policy and Design, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, July 2011

  • Housing Finance in Countries of Latin America and the Carribbean: Opportunities after the Crisis. Keynote at the Uniapravi Conference in Lima Peru, August 2010.

  • Transparency and Trade-offs in Subsidy Design. Presentation at the Global Conference on Housing Finance in Emerging Markets. World Bank, May 2010.

  • Housing Finance Subsidies: International Examples. Special presentation for Government of India Workshop on Housing Reform in India. May 2010.

  • Post-Crisis Crises in Housing Finance Systems. Keynote at the Second International Housing Finance Confernece, Central Bank of Brazil, April 2010.

  • Housing Subsidy Policy: 25 year on. Keynote at the Workshop on Spatial Outcomes, Treasury of the Government of South Africa, Johannesbeg, South Africa, September 2009.

  • From Subsidy Programs to Subsidy Policy: Brazil’s Million Houses Program in Context, Keynote, Government of Brazil Workshop to Announce the Mina Casa Mina Vida Program, Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 2009.

  • Housing Subsidies: Who Gets What and Why it Matters, Workshop during the Urban Forum, World Bank, March 2009.

  • Subsidies as Medicin, World Bank Conference Housing Finance for Emerging Markets, , May 2008.

- Growth Commission Forum on Urbanization, Panelist,World Bank, April 2008.

- Provost International Symposium on Slum-Upgrading, Panelist, University of Pennsylvania, March 2008

- Housing Finance Challenges in Indonesia, Keynote, Secondary Mortgage Finance Conference, Jakarta, October 2007.

  • Global Housing Trends: Lessons for Washington, Keynote. Conference of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and Community, Trade and Economic Development Commission, Spokane, September 2007.

  • Mortgage Finance in Egypt , Euromoney Conference, Cairo, Egypt, May 2007.

  • Expanding Housing Finance Down-Market, Financial and Private Sector Forum, IFC/World Bank, April 25, 2007.

  • Setting the Framework: Connecting Public and Private Sector, KfW Symposium on Financing Housing for the Poor: Connecting Low-Income Groups to Markets, Keynote, Berlin, November 2006.

  • Smart Subsidies, World Bank Conference on Housing Finance For Emerging Economies, 2006

  • Innovating Housing Finance, Keynote, Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria, Dutse, Nigeria, November 2005

  • Addressing Housing Affordability in the Caribbean, Keynote, 20th Anniversary celebration of the Caribbean Association of Housing Finance Institutions, Bahamas, April 2005

  • Subsidies for Housing: What Works and Does Not, OECD Conference on Housing Finance in Transition Economies, Paris, December 2004

  • Housing Finance and Housing Affordability, Keynote. Conference on Housing Finance in Turkey, SEC of Turkey, November 2004.

  • Conference on Housing Finance in Columbia, Keynote, Cartagena, Columbia, August 2004

  • Congress of the International Union for Housing Finance, Presenter, Brussels, July 2004

  • Conference on Housing Finance for the Andes Region in Lima, Peru, Keynote, April 2004

  • Conference Housing Finance in Russia, Moscow, Russsia, Keynote,February 2004.

  • Subsidizng Housing or Housing Finance? International Housing Conference to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the HongKong Housing Authority, Presenter, February 2004

  • Housing Finance For Emerging Economies, Presenter, World Bank Conference 2003

  • Affordable Housing Around the World, Keynote, Housing Washington Conference, Seatle, November 2002.

  • Extending Housing Finance without Distorting Markets, World Bank Finance Forum 2002

  • Address for “United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda”, June 2001

  • Separating Housing Finance from Housing Subsidies, keynote, World Bank Housing Finance Conference, May 2000.

  • Collateral and Credit Risk in Housing Lending for the Under-served, The World Bank: Urban Forum, Urban Poverty Reduction in the 21st Century, April 2000.

For other invited lectures before 2000 see full CV.

BOARDS AND COMMITTEES (selection upto 2000)

2016 - Memebr Advisory Board of the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and Finance, Habitat for Humanity

2006 - 2008 Taskforce for the Establishment of a Web-portal for Housing Finance Information

2005 - 2015 Advisory Board for Housing Policy Research, Habitat for Humanity

2002 - 2010 Advisory Group, Urban Development Center, World Bank.

1999 - 2010 Editorial Board, Housing Finance International, International Union for Housing Finance.

2003 Executive Planning Committee, International Union for Housing Finance.

2000-2007 Board member of Catalytic Communities, an internet-based international NGO

1999-2006 Board member of OMG, a non-profit firm specializing in community development.

1995-2000 Leading member of the Committee that prepared the “Univerity City Plan”; Liason between Community and Upenn.


The American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association

The American Planning Association/ International Division

The European Network for Housing Research

Contact Information

International Housing Finance Program

Wharton Real Estate Center/SH-DH1462

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6302

Tel: (215) 898-3313


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