Sweden mulls mandatory mortgage repayment

Sweden mulls mandatory mortgage repayment
Bank watchdog mulls mortgage-repayment plan
After reviewing Sweden's mortgage-repayment system, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen, FI) is considering enforcing compulsory mortgage amortization for Swedes as debt burdens surge.

Agency head Martin Andersson told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that he was considering introducing amortization requirements if debt levels, which are at record levels, continue to grow.

At present, it is relatively common for Swedes to only focus on their monthly interest rate payments rather than attempting to also pay down the principal on their mortgages.

The goal, Andersson explained, would be to strengthen the mortgage-repayment culture of Swedish borrowers.

“We’re looking into this issue. There is no promise that we’re going to introduce this, rather that we’re indicating that we are ready,” he said, adding that it’s “not reasonable” to lower the mortgage cap any further.

The news comes after the authority noted that lending rates for mortgages rose in Sweden over the summer.

“We’re don’t see this as any big danger for the Swedish economy right now, but if it takes off then we have to start thinking about the next step,” Andersson said.

One tool already in place to dampen the growth of Swedish household debt is a mortgage lending ceiling introduced in 2010 which caps the amount home buyers can borrow at 85 percent of the value of the property.

The measures were supported by Riksbank head Stefan Ingves, who said that Swedish authorities were late in taking action when it came to the risks of the mortgage sector.

TT/The Local/og

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