31 Jan 2015

Region-wide LVRs 'too complicated'

6:34 am on 31 January 2015

Some banking experts say restricting home loans regionally would be too complicated and could undermine their effectiveness in reining in the housing market.

Auckland housing, pictured from Mt Eden.

Paul Mersi said imposing LVRs nationwide was stifling the market in areas where house prices were not a problem. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Since loan-to-value restrictions (LVRs) came into effect in 2013, 90 percent of new home-buyers have required 20 percent deposits.

Some analysts have predicted the Reserve Bank could introduce further restrictions to put the brakes on Auckland and Christchurch's accelerating property markets, to balance a cut in interest rates.

A director of the Wellington Region Economic Development Agency, Paul Mersi, who sat on the Government's Savings Working Group, said imposing LVRs nationwide was stifling the market in areas where house prices were not a problem.

"Applying the same medicine to every market means there's going to be unnecessarily adverse impacts on those markets and those markets don't need it.

"Other parts of New Zealand don't need their economies being suppressed or pulled down a little bit by policies like this."

Mr Mersi said LVRs already required administration so splitting up regions would not add many complications.

Reserve Bank

Some analysts have predicted the Reserve Bank could introduce further restrictions. Photo: RNZ

However, associate head of Massey University's School of Economics and Finance, David Tripe, said splitting LVRs by region would confuse the system and create new problems.

"If you move from Wellington to Auckland and you wind up owning two properties, if your loan for your Auckland property is subject to the Auckland LVR cap, then you get around it with your Wellington LVR."

A partner at PwC, Roger Kerr, agreed region-wide, loan-to-value restrictions would be too complicated to introduce.

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