The government wants to make access to mortgage credit an electoral issue

The message is clear. Just as the government claims to make purchasing power one of its main battles, the same goes for access to mortgage credit, even in this context of multiple crises. “We want households to be able to continue to finance their property purchases under favorable conditions, this is the point we are monitoring the most closely”, declared Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy, at the end of the meeting. meeting of the High Council for Financial Stability (HCSF) which took place this Thursday.

The Minister even went further, affirming that the current situation is particularly favorable to the realization of a real estate project. “With a real estate rate at 1.1% or 1.2% per year over 25 years and inflation at nearly 3% we are still on negative real rates, he said. Household financing conditions therefore remain particularly attractive in France. This is the most important for us. »

This statement by the minister – unusual at the end of this monthly meeting – testifies, two weeks before the first round of the presidential election, to the importance of this subject for the government. Emmanuel Macron has placed the protection of the purchasing power of the French among his priorities in an attempt to ensure his re-election. It has thus multiplied the measures aimed at immunizing households from the consequences of inflation, and in particular against the rise in energy prices.

The well-prepared market

Although Bercy considers that there is not yet an “inflationary spiral”, the ministry recognizes that price tensions could still increase in the wake of the war in Ukraine which is greatly disrupting gas and oil supplies. Russian oil. But for the HCSF, the mortgage market is well prepared to deal with it.

First, the ministry recalled that the “prudential cushions”, that is to say the capital set aside by banks to deal with the risk of default, will increase in 2023 from 0 to 0.5%, following a decision by the HCSF taken last December. This is on the one hand to ensure that the banks have sufficient reserves to face a risk of default but, also, that they show “the necessary prudence on the conditions of financing”, specified Bercy.

Moreover, despite galloping inflation, households should not have difficulty repaying their credit, assured sources close to the HCSF. On the one hand, households are partly protected by the measures taken by the government on energy tariffs. On the other hand, the HCSF has ensured that the credits in progress are generally healthy, that is to say that they do not endanger the borrower, assure these sources.

Since the end of 2019, the body has indeed published recommendations to regulate the conditions for granting – debt ratio of 35% maximum, loans of 25 years maximum -, which were engraved in the law on 1er January. “The current crisis shows the relevance of these decisions, assure these sources. Today, several European countries envy us this regulatory framework which makes it possible to avoid excesses. »

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