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INTERVIEW: Central bank wants to roll back cheap mortgage program

MOSCOW, Feb 3 (PRIME) -- RussiaТs central bank stands for a gradual roll-back of the governmentТs 6.5% mortgage program, although it may be prolonged in some regions with a difficult situation on the housing markets, Yelizaveta Danilova, head of the regulatorТs financial stability department, told PRIME on Wednesday.

УThe low-rate program should be gradually rolled back to avoid excessive risks. It is important to track housing prices because they have grown fast over the past years, partially due to the increase of mortgage loans, partially due to the lack of supply of housing,Ф she said.

УWe also see a problem in the cheap mortgage program losing its social direction, because we see lasrge investment demand for housing, especially in large cities.Ф

She said that housing is one of ways to channel savings for wealthy Russians.

УThe more the prices grow, the more interesting these purchases become, especially when we have easy-term mortgages, which drive the prices up even more, so the initial ultimate goal of the program of making housing affordable to more people becomes unachievable,Ф Danilova said.

The program currently covers all types of borrowers in all regions of Russia, and the bulk of loans is provided in the regions with the highest pricing pressure Ц Moscow, the Moscow Region, St. Petersburg, the Leningrad Region, and the Krasnodar Region. The program may be prolonged in those regions, where the condition of the housing market is worse and where this program would be necessary, she said.

Sher also said that the central bank did not see any reason in toughening markups to the risk ratios on mortgage loans.

УCurrently, we see no reason for toughening the markups, but we continue monitoring the situation,Ф she said, adding that the regulator continues tracking connection between expanding mortgages and the dynamics of housing prices, even though they are yet to create any systemic risks.

The debt burden in the mortgage loans improved last year. УIf we speak about the LTV (loan to value), we see a slight improvement here, but it is not significant now. I mean an increase of the share of loans with low initial installments to 20% on the primary market where the state program is in force from 10%, and then to 40% in the third quarter from 22% in the second quarter, and them to 41% in the fourth quarter of 2020,Ф she said.

The initial deadline of the cheap mortgage program was November 1, 2020, but the government prolonged it until July 1, 2021. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that the government would decide on what to do with the program at the end of the first half of 2021.

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03.02.2021 12:00
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