(Updates with background)
STOCKHOLM, July 9 Sweden's possible next finance
minister said on Wednesday she could "see the point" of measures
to compel households to start paying down their mortgages as a
means of curbing soaring indebtedness.
Finance Minister Anders Borg has already asked the central
bank and the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) to
evaluate the possibility of introducing mandatory amortisation
as a way of curbing soaring household debt.
Social Democrat economic spokeswoman Magdalena Andersson,
who is widely expected to take over as finance minister if her
centre-left party wins a September election as opinion polls
suggest, also said mandatory amortisation should be considered.
"I absolutely think that is something interesting to discuss
- I can see the point of a clearer amortisation requirement,"
Andersson told journalists.
Household debt in the Nordic country is among the highest in
Europe at around 175 percent of disposable income and rising,
while home prices have ballooned over the past two decades.
Many Swedes have interest-only mortgages and are repaying
principal amounts only very slowly.
A report by the central bank, the Riksbank, earlier this
year showed it would take an average 99 years for those who are
paying off the principal to clear their mortgage debt.
Four out of 10 borrowers were not paying off their debt at
all, the report showed.
A deeper-than-expected 50 basis point cut in interest rates
last week has intensified concerns about households' borrowing.
Borg said last week the government wants to take a decision
on amortisation at a meeting in November of Sweden's Financial
Stability Council, which includes members from the Riksbank, the
debt office, the FSA and the government.
"It sounds reasonable to discuss it in November," Andersson
said on Wednesday.
The Social Democrats combined with likely coalition allies
the green party and the left party hold a big lead in opinion
polls ahead of the elections.
(Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Catherine Evans)