Business World

Sunday 18 February 2018

Bank of England's Broadbent sees no UK mortgage boom

Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney
Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney

Bank of England policymaker Ben Broadbent said on Thursday it was not surprising that Britain's housing market was recovering along with the rest of the economy and he did not see troubling levels of credit growth.

"What really matters is not just house prices per se but whether there is a lot of credit growth on back of that. Currently, there isn't a great deal," Broadbent told BBC radio.

"It's clearly something the Bank and the Financial Policy Committee will want to keep an eye on."

British house prices jumped about 10 percent in the 12 months to April, raising concerns about a new bubble in the property market.

The Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee (FPC) is due to meet next month and many economists expect it may take measures to control credit.

On Wednesday, the BoE's monetary policymakers signalled they were in no rush to raise interest rates.

Broadbent said the Bank had already taken its foot off the accelerator in terms of reducing encouragement for mortgage credit by focusing its Funding for Lending Scheme exclusively on business lending.

He said the FPC, on which he does not sit, could take measures to ensure that underwriting standards for mortgage lending remain of high quality and that the ratio of loans to incomes and property values do not rise too quickly.

Broadbent also reiterated the BoE's view that when the time comes to raise interest rates, they would go up gradually and probably to a lower level than before the financial crisis. He said that message was more important than speculation about when the BoE might start raising interest rates.

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