This paper expanded on a previous World Bank research on Pensions and Housing Finance. The Capstone project provided an analysis and a description of the different systems allowing the withdrawal of pension savings for housing purposes. Methods of exploration included the development of an ad-hoc survey sent to pension regulators, the collection of exterior macroeconomic data and the analysis of the interactions between the two. This work also offered a deeper analysis of three systems representative of their kind, namely South-Africa, Singapore, and Mexico, describing their features, strengths, and weaknesses. Results yielded by this methodology show that:
1) In countries that allow early withdrawal for housing purposes, pension funds are on average larger;
2) countries that responded to the survey and that allow early withdrawal to have a lower homeownership rate compared to countries that do not allow early withdrawal;
3) although housing prices grow at a faster rate in countries that allow for early pension withdrawal for housing, housing returns are about the same as for countries that do not allow early withdrawal.
This work paves the way for further research in a yet unexplored field. It does so by setting up a new database and a way of categorizing different systems. This fundamental understanding can guide future research aiming to assess causality and evaluate the effectiveness of different policies. The authors of this report are aware of the limitations of the research. They mainly lie in the size of the sample that should be expanded before stronger conclusions.