Euribor falls for second month in row, mortgage payments rise

A summary of the Latest Euribor and Spanish mortgage news

Euribor (12 months), the interest rate normally used to calculate mortgage repayments in Spain, fell for the second month in a row to 2.067pc in September, a percentage fall of -1.4pc on the previous month.

As you can see from the graph above, the rise of Euribor seems to have topped out, at least for the time being. With markets still fretting about a European debt crisis, expectations of rising interest rates have fallen, taking the heat off Euribor rates. The European Central Bank has said it has no plans to raise (or cut) the base-rate any further. It now stands at 1.5pc.

And the monthly fall will not be much comfort for those with an annually resetting mortgage. Euribor is now 45.6pc higher than it was 12 months ago, meaning repayments on the average mortgage will rise by 480 Euros/year. The following chart shows how Euribor has changed on an annualised basis.

The next chart tells the story of Euribor over 10 years. It was way too low between 2002 and 2006, sparking off an insane boom in Spanish real estate. It rose in 2007-2008 as other European economies and inflation started to grow too fast , but was slashed in 2009 to head of a depression. It made a feeble attempt to rise again this year, but that has run out of steam with the economy. It is now back around 2pc – way below what it should be in normal times. I guess it will stay like this for some time.

New motgage lending falls

But right now theproblem is not so much the Euribor rate, which is historically low; it is that banks don’t seem to want to lend at any rate, starving the housing market of credit without which it cannot recover.

New mortgage lending fell 47pc in July (to 29,523) compared to the same month last year, the lowest level recorded since this data series started in 2003.

The average residential mortgage value was €110,604, 9pc down on last year.

All of which means less money around to fuel demand for Spanish property, putting further downward pressure on prices.

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About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based property market analyst and consultant, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008). He can be reached by email on ms@spanishpropertyinsight.com.