Why it may be easier to secure a mortgage in Norway in 2023
New mortgage regulations will be introduced by the government in 2023, which experts in the real estate market believe will make it easier to secure a house loan in Norway.
Despite interest rates increasing fivefold in 2022 and house prices rising throughout much of the year, 2023 may be the year where it is easier to get a mortgage and take a step up the property ladder.
This is because, from the New Year, the government will change lending regulations to ensure that more people are eligible for a house loan.
Under current rules, banks are required to assess whether applicants can weather potential interest rate increases of up to five percentage points.
This interest rate stress test will be lowered to three percentage points instead. This should make it easier for people to secure mortgages as banks will assess whether they can afford interest rate increases at a lower level than before.
Part of the reason for the change is the fact that interest rates have already risen sharply in Norway and are expected to peak during 2023, meaning households shouldn't expect repayment rates to increase too drastically in the foreseeable future.
If the five percent threshold was maintained during a time when interest rates have increased rapidly over the past 18 months, then fewer people would have passed banks assessment of whether they can afford rate increases.
The Norwegian real estate market has welcomed the move to lower interest rate increase requirements.
“All honour and praise to the Ministry of Finance who have sat and listened to us with two feet in the housing market. This is a win for the home buyer, seller and owner,” Grethe Wittenberg Meier, managing director of Privatmegleren, said to financial site E24 when the new measures were announced in December.
“Today (the day the change was announced) is a day of joy for everyone who is or wants to enter the housing market,” she added.
She also welcomed the move from the government to retain the current flexibility quota and the regulation that allows households to borrow up to five times their income.
Additionally, Real Estate Norway (Eindom Norway) pointed to the new measures in its forecast for 2023 and said the relief would stop the mortgage market in Norway from becoming overly restrictive.
“Recently, Minister of Finance Vedum approved relaxations in the lending regulations. Without these reliefs, lending to home buyers would have become very tight when interest rates have risen so high in a short time, and house prices would have fallen much more,” Hennig Lauridsen, CEO of Real Estate Norway, said.