Housing Loans Show Remarkable Growth in 2017
Statistics of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) have finally detected a significant upheaval in the credit market after years of freezing around zero. Housing loans have risen most heavily - with a significant 7.4% last year, the figures show. In absolute terms, the increase in mortgage loans is close to BGN 650 million. By comparison, in 2016, the mortgage niche registered a minimum increase of 1.4 per cent. Thus, the total volume of mortgage loans as of December 31, 2017 is now 9.4 billion.
Real estate agents comment that the interest in these products was raised primarily due to the lowering of the interest rates, which already move around 4% per annually, as well as because of the rising incomes of the population. As a result, more and more properties, as well as an increasing percentage of their funding, are paid by bank loans rather than by their own funds. At the same time, bankers say that interest is far from being the main factor in the search for loans, but rather the overall economic situation.
Consumer loans also posted an increase of 5.8% or BGN 423 mln. Their total volume reached 7.7 billion BGN as of December 2017. Consumer lending moved around zero with a growth of only 0.6% a year ago. Total loans to households in 2017 registered an annual growth of 6% or 1.1 billion leva. The corporate lending situation is slightly weaker. The growth of business loans is 1.7%, compared to 0.3% in 2016. This type of loans increased by about BGN 500 million per year and by December 2017 reached more than 31 billion BGN. Total lending to the non-government sector marks growth of 4.8% to 52.9 billion leva, compared to 1.5% in 2016. The decline in bad loans is also reported. Uncalled consumer loans, for example, dropped by 13% at the end of 2017 compared to a year earlier. The decrease is from 916 million leva to 803 million leva, which is one of the lowest levels since the beginning of the financial crisis. Bad mortgage loans to households also dropped significantly - from BGN 1.5 billion in December 2016 to BGN 1.2 billion a year later.
However, the general level of non-performing loans in Bulgaria remains relatively high, according to a report by the European Commission. It states that the share of these loans in Bulgaria is 12.1% at an average of 4.6% in the EU. Savings continue to rise in 2017, it is also clear from the data from the central bank. Business deposits, however, jumped significantly - 13.8% a year to 22 billion leva. This is a double increase compared to 2016 when the growth was by 6.3%. Household deposits rose by 5.4% to 47.8 billion BGN in 2017. For one year, the population has allocated additional BGN 2.5 billion to banks. The savings growth is slightly weaker than in 2016 when it was 6.6 %.
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