Housing market curbs expected in Reserve Bank announcement

Housing market curbs expected in Reserve Bank announcement

Deputy Governor Grant Spencer will give a speech at 5:30pm on Thursday in which many people expect he will talk about further lending restrictions for the property market.

It is not likely to be a formal policy announcement. Rather Mr Spencer is tipped to outline new measures the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) is considering and could soon introduce.

These could include:

Debt-to-income limits are also a possibility. But before they can be introduced the Government would have to rewrite the Memorandum of Understanding it has agreed with the RBNZ.

The Memorandum defines the tools the Bank can use to limit lending in the property market.

It is not the RBNZ's job to provide affordable housing. It is concerned with ensuring there is financial stability.

What would happen if there were a property crash?

The RBNZ has warned before that overseas experience shows in a crash it is investors who are particularly hard hit.

The bank does not want to see a situation in which people suddenly find their house is worth less than they owe the bank.

If the housing market were to cool down it would give the RBNZ more room to cut interest rates.

Lower rates would make New Zealand look less attractive to offshore investors. They are investing here because our rates are higher than those on offer in the US, Europe and Japan.

If rates fall and the dollar eases that would give exporters a helping hand. Of course lower rates would also fuel the housing market.

So here is something else to look for - will Mr Spencer have anything to say about whether the RBNZ thinks the Government needs to make changes to the tax rules for investors?


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