15 Aug 2017

PM sends signal to Reserve Bank over mortgage rules

12:47 pm on 15 August 2017

Prime Minister Bill English has strongly signalled he'd like the Reserve Bank to review its restrictive loan-to-value ratio lending rules.

auckland housing

Photo: 123RF

The Real Estate Institute called for the bank to take another look at the loan-to-value ratio limits, after a 30 percent slowdown in the Auckland housing market in July.

The Reserve Bank first introduced the restrictions in 2013, in an attempt to take the heat out of the housing market.

It required most people wanting to take out a mortgage to have at least a 20 percent deposit.

Mr English said while the decision was entirely up to the bank, it now had to take into account the state of the housing market.

"It raises the question of who they'd be there for - it's important that the people who put them in place have thought through the conditions under which they remove the LVRs, because ideally they are not a permanent feature of the market."

There had been consultation between the government and the Reserve Bank about lending restrictions based on what people earned, Mr English said.

However, he did not see the need to introduce debt-to-income ratios at this time.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said while Labour did not support loan-to-value ratios, she recognised the need for the Reserve Bank to act.

"Not enough has been done by the government to ease the pressure on the housing market, so this is something that they've made a decision on because of inaction."

She would like to see the restrictions dropped, but that was up to the Reserve Bank to decide, she said.

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  • Hope for first home buyers as growth slows
  • Call to free first-home buyers from LVR restrictions