Mortgage lending fell more than consumer lending in January

Mortgage lending fell more than consumer lending in January

In January, the issuance of loan products from Sberbank (MOEX: SBER), as in the banking sector as a whole, showed a seasonal decline. But the decline affected the mortgage segment to a greater extent, which in terms of the volume of issuances turned out to be worse than last year’s January. The reason is tightening regulation by the Central Bank and high rates. How long the pressure on lending will remain will depend on the regulator’s policy, experts say.

For the first time in a year, the volume of mortgages issued by Sberbank fell below the volume of consumer loans issued. This follows from those disclosed on February 9 data for January according to RAS. Thus, the bank last month issued mortgage loans worth 151 billion rubles, while consumer loans amounted to 188 billion rubles. In previous months, the volume of loans issued for the purchase of housing either greatly exceeded consumer lending or was not lower.

Moreover, the volume of mortgage issuances decreased by more than 11% compared to January 2023.

Compared to December last year, the volume fell three times (from 467 billion rubles), while the result for the market as a whole was slightly better – a decrease of almost 2.9 times (from 794 billion to 275 billion rubles). In a commentary by the head of the bank, German Gref, the slowdown in lending (it was also noted in the corporate segment) is associated with restrictive measures of the Bank of Russia and high interest rates.

Currently, banks are subject to increased macro-surcharges for mortgage reserves (moreover, they will be increased from March 1), as the Central Bank records a “significant deterioration in lending standards” in this segment. In addition, the Central Bank is also developing the possibility of introducing quantitative restrictions on mortgages (macroprudential limits, see. “Kommersant” dated September 1, 2023). Banks are introducing their own measures: previously, the practice of charging a commission from developers for issuing preferential mortgages spread on the market (see. “Kommersant” dated December 27, 2023).

As for rates, according to the latest data, the weighted average rate in rubles on mortgages in December was 8.06% per annum, such a low level was achieved through preferential programs. Market rates reach 16.7–16.9% per annum or more. “High rates affect the demand for mortgages when purchasing secondary housing. Central Bank regulation also forces the bank to reduce the level of loan approval,” sums up senior analyst at Alfa Bank Evgeniy Kipnis.

Data for the market as a whole confirms the trend. At the end of January, the issuance of mortgages was lower than the issuance of cash loans, according to statistics from Frank RG (RUB 275 billion versus RUB 380 billion).

As a result, the share of Sberbank’s loans in the mortgage market decreased from 59% in December to 54.9% in January (calculations based on Frank RG data). Against this background, the share of Sberbank issues in the consumer segment, on the contrary, increased – from 40% in December to 49.5% in January. In general, according to Frank RG, in January the volume of loans issued to the population decreased by 42% (see table). “Kommersant” from February 7).

As Evgeniy Kipnis notes, “several factors came together” in the January lending dynamics. First of all, this is a seasonal factor: January is traditionally the “low season”. In the mortgage lending segment, the dynamics were also affected by the reduction of the maximum limit under the preferential mortgage program in the Moscow region from 12 million to 6 million rubles. (to the level of other regions), Mr. Kipnis continues. At the same time, the minimum down payment was increased to 30%. According to data from Dom.RF JSC, the average loan size on the primary market was almost 4 million rubles in December, while in Moscow it was significantly higher (7.2 million rubles).

“The slowdown in growth may continue given continued high interest rates. In addition, the Central Bank’s measures are also being maintained to cool the market,” notes BCS senior financial sector analyst Elena Tsareva.

Olga Sherunkova

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