No Truce at the Mortgage War: 12 Banks Offer Differentials Below 2%

29/08/2014 – Cinco Dias

In September 2008, all banks consistently started to refuse the loans as they saw one of the greatest recession on the planet was looming. However now, six years later, liquidity circles in the eurozone are going stable so financial entities can return to lending. Commercial leverages of their offices hand out mortgages, including those with homes as collaterals.

Large majority of the entities offer interest rate differentials below 2% plus Euribor for 12 months, whereas less than a year ago they could not afford for less than 3%. Bankinter was the first to break the pattern with a 1.95% + Euribor mortgage last year.

The challenge was soon accepted by the rest of the banks and reached its fever peak in the last months. ING Direct, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Sabadell, Liberbank and Unoe are among those that trimmed their differentials below 2%.

Since July, BBVA is the number one with its up to (or down to) 1.7% + Euribor loan (2.25% in the first year). Obviously, the final price will depend of the economical record of the client and the loyalty products they buy together with the mortgage.

Aside from the competitive Cajasurs credit found exclusively in Andalusia and Extremadura, BBVA is second to no one. However, the spread of Santander (1.89%) treads on its heels.

According to data gathered by the Ministry of Public Works, the surplus cash in hands of banks currently exceeds €100 billion in the euro zone and the fact that the property prices have fallen by over 30% since the 2008 peak are key for recovery of the real estate market. The number of new mortgage approvals has already risen by 19%, as per information published by the National Insititute of Statistics (or INE by its acronym in Spanish).

The fierce deleveraging process run by financial entities and the necessity to return to their traditional business also impulsed the improvement in lending. Official statistics start to confirm the new credit flow. According to Spains central bank, in June mortgages with a house as collateral represented more than €767 billion, though still much less than in 2008. Furthermore, the INEs information tells that in the same month, the average interest rate in mortgages was equal to 3.88%, compared with the 4.37% rate from May 2013.

At the new war on mortgages – although far away from the differentials of 0.3% seen in 2006 and 2007 – internet banking smooths its offers out as well. Even if the rates are similar to those proposed by classical entities (i.e. slighly lower than 2%), less loyalty products are required. Most sophisticated in this field turns out to be Evo Banco that cuts in the differential if the Euribor reference goes up. In the first year of the credits life, a customer pays a fixed rate and after the term the differential declines in line with Euribor. Thus, given that it was set at between 2% and 4%, the rate will shrink by 0.2%, in case of a 4% to 6% one by 0.4% and so on, and so forth.

 

Original article: Cinco Días (by P. M. Simón & V. Gómez)

Translation: AURA REE

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