The Swedish economy is thriving, but a strong economy combined with low interestrates has resulted in high asset prices and rapidly rising household debt.
Households with high loan-to-income ratios, i.e. large loans in relation to income, are vulnerable. They are sensitive to rising interest rates since their monthly expenses are affected more than households with lower loan-to-income ratios. They are also somewhat more sensitive to a loss of income, for example if they become unemployed.
Finansinspektionen’s report, Stability in the Financial System, shows that the high level of household debt and rising house prices are causing vulnerabilities to build up in the Swedish economy. FI therefore would like to introduce a stricter amortisation requirement for new mortgage holders who take large loans in relation to their income.
Finansinspektionen (FI) works to ensure that the financial system is stable and characterised by high confidence. It should also have well-functioning markets that meet the needs for financial services while at the same time ensuring a high level of protection for consumers. This requires stable financial firms, clear information for consumers and consideration for consumers' needs and circumstances when developing and selling products.
Over-indebtedness is at the top of the agenda at FI’s Consumer Protection Day, which is being held today, Thursday, 11 May. FI will also present its annual report, Consumer Protection on the Financial Market, which includes a review of the areas that FI is prioritising in terms of consumer protection supervision.
Finansinspektionen (FI) presents in this report the risks consumers are facing on the financial market and that FI is prioritising in its supervision. One example is the risk that consumers will be granted larger loans than what their personal finances allow.
A feasibility study conducted by Finansinspektionen in collaboration with Mälardalen University has determined that it is possible to teach preschool children about money and finances. Small children are happy to talk about money, but preschool teachers are not experienced in talking to them about personal finances.
On Thursday, 11 May, it is once again time for FI’s Consumer Protection Day. Director General Erik Thedéen and Executive Director Malin Omberg will present FI’s work with consumer protection on the financial market. The agenda includes a discussion surrounding over-indebtedness and the measures available to counteract such a development. The moderator is Willy Silberstein. Please note that the programme will be held in Swedish.
Household debt is a crucial matter which FI monitors closely, and the mortgage survey is an important part of this work. Household debt has increased sharply in recent years. During the same period, mortgage rates have fallen and are now at historically low levels, and house prices have also risen rapidly. Finansinspektionen (FI) judges there to be an elevated risk that house prices will fall compared to a normal state, and it is more likely that interest rates will rise than that they will fall.
The amortisation requirement that was introduced last year has had a slow-down effect thus far. Households with new mortgages are borrowing less and buying less expensive homes, but the risks associated with high household debt remain.