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Price hike for new mortgages in Sweden

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Price hike for new mortgages in Sweden
New homeowners face rising costs in Sweden. Photo: Stefan Holm
15:51 CET+01:00
If you're planning to get on the property ladder in Sweden, beware that mortgages are about to get more expensive.
New borrowers will soon be expected to pay off at least half their mortgage.
 
First, customers will be asked to pay two percent of the value of their mortgage every year until they have repaid 30 percent of the loan. They will then be required to pay at least one percent a year until they have hit the 50-percent mark. 
 
This is in contrast to many current interest-only mortgage deals, which limit customers' outgoings for the first few years.
 
The new strategy has been put forward by Sweden's financial watchdog Finasinspektionen (FI) which sets the rules and regulations followed by mortgage brokers in Sweden.
 
FI's Director General Martin Andersson said on Tuesday that the move was designed to help stabilize the country's economy. 
 
Falling interest rates and tax cuts have fuelled a credit boom in Sweden. A shortage of housing for both renters and potential owners has pushed prices up in recent years.
 
"It is dangerous for an economy to be too far in debt," he told news agency TT.
 
He said that the changes were designed to avoid financial problems in the future and that people should not be too alarmed or worried.
 
Some exceptions will be made if customers are unable to meet their mortgage repayments because of sickness or unexpected unemployment.
 
On average, Swedes with mortgages hold a debt 3.7 times higher than their annual income. 
 
A study by Sweden's central bank recently suggested that most Swedes with mortgages would die before repaying their debts.
 
But besides mortgages, which account for 95 percent of their debt, Swedes are not big borrowers.
 
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