Press release

EMF Publishes Quarterly Review Q1 2021

26 August 2021

The European mortgage and housing markets expand further but the pandemic continues to render asymmetrical results at national level


Brussels, 26 August 2021 – For immediate release


The European Mortgage Federation (EMF) is delighted to announce the publication of its Quarterly Review of European Mortgage Markets for the first quarter of 2021.


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 and government intervention;
  • Nominal house price indices; and
  • Mortgage interest rates;


Key highlights of the Quarterly Review Q1 2021


Macroeconomic context:


  • A year after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and successive rounds of lockdown, the European economy continues to feel the consequences of the outbreak, as uncertainty and the protraction of certain containment measures still have an impact on business activities and everyday life. According to Eurostat, in the first quarter of 2021, EU27 GDP contracted by 0.3% against the Q4 2020. On a yearly basis, European production levels dropped by 1.2%, following a steeper fall of 4.4% in the previous quarter.


Market developments:


During Q1 2021, mortgage and housing markets continued to expand, despite the contraction of the overall European economy.


  • This quarter, the European mortgage market recorded further gains. Total outstanding residential loans for the EMF country sample (see report) increased by around 6% on a yearly basis, the fastest pace of growth in more than a year. In terms of lending activity, gross residential lending volumes increased by more than 14% year-on-year, following a 0.6% yearly drop in the previous quarter. This is the first time since Q1 2020 in which gross residential lending volumes increased at European level.
  • As in the previous quarter, the European housing supply increased in most jurisdictions during Q1 2021, although some specific or localised trends remain in place. In terms of house prices, a similar situation can be outlined, since most EMF countries report increasing indices, albeit with some drops that are further explained in this quarter’s report. Once again, demand for housing has been one of the main drivers of this upward movement.
  • As previously reported, government-sanctioned amortisation exemptions and payment breaks remain in place to support households in many EMF jurisdictions. However, these extraordinary measures will not be renewed in many cases after their legal end date is due. Furthermore, national governments are starting to focus on the green transition, laying out new tax incentives and schemes to support the renovation of the housing stock.
  • Lastly, the EMF country sample registers additional reductions in their average interest rates. The sample’s overall unweighted average stands at 1.87%, down from 1.9% in the previous quarter. The current reading is the lowest recorded in the Quarterly Review series.




Daniele Westig

Economic Adviser

Tel: +32 2 285 40 40