Rising property values could trigger tighter credit conditions

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on September 10, 2021
Rising property values could trigger tighter credit conditions

The focus on housing credit policies is becoming more intense as property values continue to rise.

The latest data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), shows nearly 22% of housing loans originated with a debt-to-income ratio greater than six times through the June quarter. 

This grew six percentage points from 16% a year ago. 

CoreLogic stated this could trigger tighter credit conditions down the track as mortgage debt levels increase faster than their long-term averages. 

The report stated that a sustained period where household debt grows at a faster rate than incomes could see a build-up of medium-term risks that could trigger a tightening of credit policy.

CoreLogic said one response to these medium-term risks would be to raise the minimum interest rate used when assessing whether a borrower can service their loan.

Another option is for portfolio level restrictions to be imposed on lenders, establishing firm benchmarks on the proportion of high debt-to-income ratio loans that can be issued. 

Both options would limit the loan size relative to a borrower's income. 

CoreLogic aren't the only ones cautioning the rapid increase in housing prices. 

Westpac CEO Peter King told the House of Representatives economics committee on Thursday: "When we look at housing affordability at the moment it's pretty stretched."

Mr King told the committee that there is more demand than supply in the housing market but that regulators should wait until lockdowns are finished to assess the market. 

"Will the market slow down itself or not? We might need macro prudential policies," Mr King said. 

However, property analyst Simon Pressley on Thursday was critical of any potential tightening of lending standards.

"One can only hope that the APRA Board does not wish to leave a legacy as economic destroyers and dream-breakers," Mr Pressley said.

"Their track record for considering big-picture consequences is not good."

CoreLogic said that previous rounds of macro-prudential policies saw housing credit harder to come by.

In March 2017, for example, APRA restricted interest-only loans to 30% of new loans.

This follows a 10% annual growth cap placed on investment lending in 2014.

Across the ditch - New Zealand already tightening LVR

Reserve Bank of New Zealand analysis has shown that house prices are above a sustainable level. 

RBNZ, which also acts as prudential regulator, has proposed a further tightening of macro prudential lending standards. 

The latest proposal includes further restricting the number of 80%+ LVR loans to 10% of all new loans to owner occupiers. 

The current restriction is 20% of all new owner occupier lending.

Consultation on the process ends on 17 September, with the new rules coming into effect from 1 October.


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Aaron joined Savings.com.au in 2021. He is a finance journalist with a keen interest in property, the share market, and improving financial literacy in young Australians.

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