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Swedish household loan growth continues to slow

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Swedish household loan growth continues to slow
14:22 CET+01:00
Growth in lending to Swedish households by banks and mortgage institutions continued to slow last month, Sweden's statistics agency revealed on Tuesday.

Annual growth slowed to 8.4 percent compared with 8.6 percent in October. In November 2009, growth stood at 9 percent, Statistics Sweden reported on Tuesday in its Financial Market Statistics November 2010 report.

Household borrowing amounted to 2.51 trillion kronor ($369.15 million), of which mortgages accounted for 2 trillion kronor, the agency announced.

The annual growth rate for housing loans fell to 8.8 percent in November from 9.1 percent in October. At the same time, household loans for consumption amounted to 155 billion kronor, representing an annual growth rate of 3 percent.

The proportion of outstanding mortgages with a floating interest rate or original interest rate period of up to one year is 68 percent, amounting to to 1.35 trillion. Only 5 percent of mortgages have a loan period of more than five years, totalling 91 billion kronor.

In addition, lending rates rose in November, with the average interest rate for new loan agreements to households at 3.13 percent, compared with 3 percent in October.

Interest on loans with floating rates grew the most to 3.07 percent from 2.82 percent in October. Interest has also risen for loans with longer periods.

The rate of lending growth has slowed slightly as interest rates rose, coupled with the mortgage cap imposed by the Financial Services Authority in October.

Robert Bergqvist, chief economist at SEB, believes that the mortgage growth curve will start to head downwards gradually.

"It is too early to say that interest rate increases and the mortgage cap are not taking a bite. I believe that we need more time to come to that conclusion," he said.

Debate continues about the need for stricter lending rules, such as installment payment requirements on households, if existing measures are deemed not to have any major impact.

"One thing is certain: the current figures are still too high. From a macro perspective, it is disappointing that credit expansion remains as strong as it is. It is not sustainable," said Bergqvist.

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