Household debt is a crucial matter which FI monitors closely, and the mortgage survey is an important part of this work. Household debt has increased sharply in recent years. During the same period, mortgage rates have fallen and are now at historically low levels, and house prices have also risen rapidly. Finansinspektionen (FI) judges there to be an elevated risk that house prices will fall compared to a normal state, and it is more likely that interest rates will rise than that they will fall.
The amortisation requirement that was introduced last year has had a slow-down effect thus far. Households with new mortgages are borrowing less and buying less expensive homes, but the risks associated with high household debt remain.
SUMMARY: In Sweden, both the percentage of mortgages that have a variable interest rate and household debts have risen sharply. This combination has made house-holds sensitive to rising interest rates.
Loans make it possible to smooth out consumption over a lifetime. Household indebtedness is high and in recent years household debt has risen faster than both income and GDP. Household debt consists primarily of mortgages.
House prices have been rising and, as a result, so has the debt of households in relation to their income – i.e. their debt-to-income (DTI) ratios. A DTI limit could slow this trend, but limiting households' opportunities to borrow would also slow consumption and economic activity.
Household debts are continuing to develop in an unfavourable direction. This is one of the conclusions in FI's Stability Report, which is being published today.
New mortgages must be amortised down to 50 per cent of the value of the residential property. The amortisation requirement will apply to all new loans that are collateralised by a residential property. The property may be revalued every fifth year.
The average debt-to-income ratio for households with new mortgages increased from 387 per cent to 406 per cent between 2014 and 2015, according to FI:s report.
FI today sends out a proposal which requires amortization of mortgages. The proposal is that new mortgage holders must pay their mortgages down to a 50 per cent loan-to value ratio. Starting on 1 June 2016, the amortization requirement will apply to all new loans which are collateralized by a home.
Summary of the speech by Finansinspektionen's Director General Erik Thedéen at the Centre for Business and Policy Studies' seminar on the economic situation on 19 November 2015.