Drs. Marja Hoek-Smit is the Director of the International Housing Finance Program of the Wharton School Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center, and an Adjunct Professor in the Wharton Real Estate Department and Department of City and Regional Planning of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Graduate Group of the Lauder Institute, of the Wharton School. Her work focuses on housing markets and urban and housing policy, and the deepening of housing finance systems, particularly in developing and emerging market economies. Specifically, her research and consulting work has included policy reforms to improve the functioning of housing and real estate markets, reform and design of housing and housing finance-linked subsidy programs, housing demand and affordability analyses, the development of housing and housing finance indicators, design and implementation of upgrading strategies and monitoring and evaluation systems for housing programs. She develops, coordinates and teaches executive education programs in housing finance and housing market development both at Wharton and in emerging market countries. She has consulted with clients including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, USAID, the United Nations, the Inter–American Development Bank, and directly for governments, non-governmental organizations and private financial institutions. She has worked and lived in more than 40 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South and East Asia, Latin America, and East and Central Europe.


Drs. Hoek-Smit is also the founder and Executive Director of the Housing Finance Information Network—HOFINET—a global web portal that consolidates international housing finance information and statistical data for public use. The HOFINET portal is sponsored jointly by the Wharton School, the World Bank, IFC and FMO of the Netherlands.


Drs. Hoek-Smit has lectured internationally at leading universities and has been a keynote speaker at major national and international professional meetings. She completed her doctoraal degree at the University of Amsterdam in 1971. Prior to teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, she taught at the University of Nairobi, Kenya.