English rejects criticism over housing measures

Finance Minister Bill English has rejected criticism that tough new measures to rein in house prices are preventing people from building new homes.

House prices are continuing to rise, while builders argue that restrictions on bank mortgage lending to people with deposits of less than 20%, which came into effect on 1 October, have choked off a much needed lift in house building.

The Reserve Bank on Wednesday defended its measures including restrictions on low deposit loans and forcing banks to hold more capital against riskier loans.

During Parliament's Question Time on Wednesday Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford asked Mr English about a claim by the Master Builders Federation that the restrictions were hindering new house building.

Mr English said he did not agree. "The figures don't indicate what the Master Builders are saying. The consent figures do not indicate there is a fall-off at all, let alone a dramatic fall-off."

The minister said the Reserve Bank's latest financial stability report, released on Wednesday, points out there are lessons to learn from 2001 to 2007, when house prices doubled.

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