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Housing loans hit 20-year low

The last time so few mortgages were drawn was in 2003, the Bank of Finland said.

Asuntolainat. Kiinteistötoimisto. Helsinki. 20.5.2021.
Framed adverts of properties for sale hang in a real estate storefront window, file photo. Image: Jorge Gonzalez / Yle
Yle News,

Drawdowns on new housing loans continued to be low in February, according to the Bank of Finland.

The central bank said that banks lent a total of 980 million euros in new housing loans last month.

The last time there were fewer mortgages drawn was in 2003.

The bank said the year-on-year rate of growth of the stock of households' housing loans slowed to 0.6 percent, having stood at 3.8 percent just a year earlier.

Meanwhile, investment mortgages issued shrank by 0.1 percent compared to the same period last year, the bank said on Thursday.

Annual interest rates for new home loans drawn in February stood at 3.8 percent, according to the central bank.

Which Euribor rate?

The popularity of 12-month Euribor-linked loans have decreased in favour of shorter-term Euribor rates.

About 60 percent of new mortgages issued in February were linked to the 12-month Euribor rate, 18 percent to 6-month Euribor rate and 17 percent to the 3-month Euribor rate, according to the Bank of Finland.

"The average interest rate on new housing loans linked to the 1-year Euribor was 4.10 percent, in comparison to 3.59 percent on loans linked to the 6-month Euribor and 3.14 percent on loans linked to the 3-month Euribor," the central bank said in a press release.

In a post on Twitter, the CEO of the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (Etla), Aki Kangasharju pondered whether it is better to tie mortgages to 12- or 3-month Euribor rates.

"Prefer the shorter, if that has no effect on margins charged by the bank," Kangasharju tweeted.

He said a borrower's benefit in doing so vanishes if the bank takes a margin of around 0.2 percentage points higher than the 3-month Euribor rate.

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