PENCIL CASE. Real estate credit: why families are getting fewer and fewer loans

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Since the beginning of the year, a rise in interest rates in particular, coupled with a low usury rate, has led to an increase in the number of mortgage application refusals. One in two applications would be rejected due to the dropout rate. More and more families are excluded from accessing the property.

Is obtaining a mortgage a luxury in 2022? With credit rates on the rise and a usury rate deemed too low by professionals, it is becoming increasingly difficult for families to obtain a loan from banks. In question according to the brokers in particular: a much too low wear rate. This threshold set at 2.57% on 1 July for a 20-year fixed-rate loan is intended to avoid household over-indebtedness.

“It is excluded for an entire segment of the population. Solid dossiers that would have been accepted a few months ago are now rejected,” says Sandrine Allonier, director of studies at the Vousfinancer real estate loan agency. This is confirmed by the data of an Opinion System survey commissioned by the French Association of Bancassurance Intermediaries (Afib): almost one out of two mortgage applications (45%) is rejected due to the usury rate. That is the maximum legal interest rate that lenders are allowed to apply.

This legal ceiling set by the Banque de France could lead to a possible blockade of the market, according to professionals. Véronique Bédague, managing director of Nexity, explains that “the combination of the usury rate and the increase in rates makes some first-time buyers, especially the most modest and the youngest, less solvent.” And for good reason: buying a primary home would be the majority of these rejected loan applications (71%), and just over half of these usury-related mortgage rejections are in the 30-55 year category ( 51%), according to the survey. A “gap effect” would hit borrowers who are caught between rising credit rates and too low a usury rate. Result: A large number of still solid borrower files are rejected. In July, according to an estimate by the Banque de France, nearly 22 billion euros (including renegotiations) of loans to households had been granted to households. Which is 5 billion euros less than in May and one billion less than in June. In this regard, the French Banking Federation (FBF) has indicated to remain vigilant “towards the indicators that could testify to the tensions on mortgages”, warning that the usury rate must not become “a mechanism for excluding families for financing their solvent projects” .

“Protect families on loan”

While many professionals are pushing for a change in the method of calculating the usury rate, the Ministry of Economy and Finance told Les Echos that “the minister could, on the recommendation of the governor of the Banque de France, make adjustments in case of usury, tariffs are hindering access to credit “.

Our colleagues also point out that the government wants to encourage banks to slow down the hike in interest rates, which is more than notable in 2022. The Banque de France, for its part, does not hear this with the same ear when it comes to interest rates. rate.wear and recalls that it was created “to protect borrower families”.

Borrowers, brokers, bankers … All are now waiting for October 1 with a probable increase in the usury rate for the last quarter of 2022. But even taking into account the estimates of an increase from 0.20 to 0.40 points, the a rate that is the heart of all passions would still be too low to “unlock the market” believes a professional in the sector.

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