Debt to income limits unlikely in first half 2017

by NZ Adviser08 Feb 2017
Finance Minister Steven Joyce announced today his request for a cost-benefit analysis on debt to income (DTI) limits and a public consultation to be conducted by the Reserve Bank, before any decision is made on the potential use of the macro-prudential policy tool.

The Bank has indicated that public consultation will commence in March and occur during the first half of 2017 so the introduction of the regulatory tool any time soon is unlikely.  

“I have discussed DTIs with the Reserve Bank Governor, who remains concerned about the levels of debt in some households in the context of recent increases in house prices,” Joyce said.

“I have decided that, consistent with good regulatory principles, a full cost-benefit analysis and consultation with the public should occur before I consider whether to amend the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Macro-Prudential Policy.”

The Finance Minister and the Governor have signed an MOU that governs the use of macro-prudential tools. This MOU sets objectives for and requires accountability around the use of the tools. The introduction of DTI limits would require that this MOU be amended. 

“The Bank has a number of regulatory tools available to it to address systemic risks it identifies and I am cautious about adding further tools.

“The use of macro-prudential tools can be complex and affect different borrowers in different ways. I am particularly interested in what the impacts could be on first home buyers.” 

The RBNZ is currently gathering information about the DTI levels that borrowers are obtaining and assessing the potential case for the use of debt-to-income limits.

“Given the novel nature of a DTI tool in New Zealand and the fact there are a number of possible policy actions the RBNZ could take, it is important that the costs and benefits of the different policy options be adequately and rigorously explored,” Joyce said. 

NZ Adviser reported this morning that Property Institute of New Zealand Chief Executive, Ashley Church has called for the LVR restrictions on first home buyers to be lifted as soon as possible.

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