ECONOMY

Mortgage loan issues said to have dropped to 250 per month

Demand for new consumer and mortgage loans was at particularly low levels in the first quarter of the year, according to figures compiled by Kathimerini.

In the January-March period, housing loans in the entire domestic banking system amounted to just 75 million euros. A senior bank official told Kathimerini that no more than 750 mortgage loans were issued in the first quarter of this year, compared to the “golden era” of 2006-07 – before the start of the financial crisis – when 800 mortgages were issued every day on average.

Demand has been so low that it is even below the limited liquidity currently available to the credit sector, leaving much of the capital destined to cover bank clients’ housing needs unused.

Another contributing factor is that banks now apply much stricter criteria when assessing the solvency of applicants for housing loans and place much more significance on the participation of the clients themselves, which must amount to at least 25 percent.

Demand mostly concerns housing loans of between 80,000 and 100,000 euros (i.e. for properties costing between 100,000 and 150,000 euros), although there is also some demand for properties of high value, around 500,000 euros, in upmarket areas that have seen prices decline considerably.