Higher consumer prices and a changing interest rate environment: a new context for European mortgage lenders
The European Mortgage Federation (EMF) is delighted to announce the publication of its Quarterly Review of European Mortgage Markets for the first quarter of 2023.
Produced in cooperation with the Federation’s national experts, the Quarterly Review provides the latest short-term developments in mortgage and housing markets across the EU.
The publication highlights expert analytical commentary together with data tables and charts on the following key indicators:
- Total outstanding residential mortgage lending;
- Gross and net residential mortgage lending;
- Regulation & Government intervention;
- Nominal house price indices; and
- Mortgage interest rates.
Key highlights for Q1 2023 Quarterly Review
- In Q1 2023, the overall stagnation of economic activity in Europe and the omnipresent increase in consumer prices continued. According to publications by Eurostat, seasonally adjusted GDP increased by 0.1% in the EU27 while GDP decreased by 0.1% in the Euro area compared to the previous quarter. Compared to the previous year, adjusted GDP increased by 1.0% in the EU27 and in the Euro area, after a 1.7% increase in the EU27 and a 1.8% increase in the previous quarter. As in the previous quarter, households’ final consumption continued to decrease by 0.3% in the EU and Euro area as well as government expenditure by 0.9% in the EU27 and by 1.6% in the Euro area.
By the end of the first quarter of 2023 the annual rate of the harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) for the Euro area stood at 6.9%, which was already a slowdown compared to the first two months of 2023 (8.6% in January and 8.5% in February).
Looking at the main components of Euro area inflation, food, alcohol and tobacco exhibited the highest annual rates in Q1 2023. Energy prices started to decrease by -0.9% at the end of Q1 2023 after exhibiting comparable high rates in the previous periods.
- The aggregated mortgage stock of the EMF country sample remained approximately stable at the end of the first quarter of 2023, pointing to a slowdown in the upward trend which has been observed since 2017. To recap, Q4 2022 saw a rise of 1.4% in the mortgage stock while the increase was approximately 1.55% in Q1 2023 compared to the previous year and 0.25% on the previous quarter considering values in local currencies. Compared to the previous year, gross residential mortgage lending decreased by 16% y-o-y in Q1 2023.
- Developments in the housing market were quite diverse across the underlying EMF sample. The development of house prices in particular was increasingly heterogenous, exhibiting different patterns across Europe. The average HPI decreased from 159.2 in Q4 2023 to 150.6. In general, the total number of transactions decreased substantially. Most participating jurisdictions also reported either a deceleration of permit issuance or building starts and completions, or a clear contraction of these indicators.
- Increasing inflation rates, resulting in higher consumer prices and an erosion of households’ savings, remained one of the main concerns of governments and authorities across the EMF country sample. Next to this, measures aimed at supporting borrowers in improving the energy performance of their homes were another key focus of policymakers’ attention in the first quarter of 2023.
- The average, unweighted EMF mortgage interest rate for Q1 2023 amounted to 4.69%, 13.94 bps higher than Q4 2022’s average rate (4.11%). This is the highest average rate since the start of the data record in Q1 2009. Moreover, Q1 2023 marks the sixth consecutive increase for the EMF average.