October 14, 2019 / 2:57 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Norway's central bank opposes tightening of mortgage lending rules

(Adds background, details)

OSLO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Norway’s central bank said on Monday that it opposes tightening rules for mortgage lending to households, as proposed by the Financial Supervisory Authority.

The regulator, aiming to bring down high household debt, proposed in September that bank customers should be allowed to borrow only up to 4.5 times a household’s gross annual income, instead of five times previously, and that banks should only deviate from rules in 5% of cases.

The central bank, Norges Bank, said there was no need to tighten regulations because growth in household debt was easing and house price growth was also moderating.

“Norges Bank believes that the austerity measures proposed by the Financial Supervisory Authority in the requirement for maximum debt ratio and in the flexibility ratio as a whole will constitute a significant tightening in the requirements of the regulations,” the central bank said in a letter to the ministry.

“Norges Bank believes that the requirement for maximum debt ratio should not be changed,” it added.

Norway has one of the highest rates of household debt among developed countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Over the past couple of years, however, debt has risen at a slower pace as household income has increased, the central bank said.

“In the future, we expect that increased interest rates and continued moderate house price growth will help dampen debt growth further,” it said. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Susan Fenton)

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