November 14, 2017 / 8:58 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Swedish home prices fall for second straight month in Oct -HOX index

(Adds analyst comment, detail, background)

STOCKHOLM, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Swedish home prices fell for the second month in a row in October, another sign that the country’s housing market is starting to cool off, the Nasdaq OMX Valueguard-KTH Housing Index (HOX) showed on Tuesday.

Prices decreased 3.0 percent in October from September, after falling 1.5 percent the month before.

“The fall in September and October home prices are the fastest since the financial crisis in 2008,” said Stefan Thunberg, analyst at Valueguard.

On an annual basis, prices were up 2.9 percent.

Apartment prices were up 0.6 percent year-on year, and single-family home prices rose 4.4 percent.

The HOX index is based on a statistical model that compensates for different types of homes sold during various periods to give a better picture of underlying price trends.

On Monday, Swedish bank SEB said its house price gauge tumbled 39 points in November, the second biggest drop on record, showing Swedes have turned much less optimistic on the housing market in recent months.

A boom in Swedish home prices since the late 1990s has driven up household debt to some of the highest levels in Europe.

Sweden’s financial watchdog proposed a further tightening of mortgage repayment rules this week to rein in the debt rise, having already introduced rules last year making it mandatory for new borrowers to pay down the principal on mortgages.

“Housing prices will level out ahead, but we don’t see any real trigger for a big fall in house prices as mortgage interest rates won’t rise due to the central bank keeping interest rates low,” said Torbjorn Isaksson, chief analyst at Nordea. (Reporting by Johan Sennero; Editing by Niklas Pollard and Catherine Evans)

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