The Russian government may revise the parameters of preferential mortgages and, in particular, increase the down payment to 20%. This was announced on Tuesday, September 5, by the head of the financial policy department of the Ministry of Finance Ivan Chebeskov.

"Indeed, an increase in the down payment is now being discussed ... There is a discussion about how to adjust the mechanism of preferential mortgages, to make it more stable in the future, "TASS quoted Chebeskov as saying.

Recall that under the terms of preferential mortgages today, all residents of the country have the opportunity to apply for a loan for the purchase of real estate at 8% per annum. For comparison: the market rate on average in the country is now about 14%, as evidenced by the materials of the company "DOM.RF".

Russians can take advantage of the terms of the program until July 1, 2024. A loan can be obtained for the purchase of finished housing from a developer or an apartment in a house under construction, for the construction of a private house on your own or under a contract agreement, as well as for the purchase of land for the construction of cottages, cottages or townhouses.

Banks provide preferential mortgages for the purchase of real estate worth up to 12 million rubles in the Moscow and St. Petersburg agglomerations and up to 6 million rubles in other regions of the country. Citizens can also take loans in the amount of up to 30 million and 15 million rubles, respectively, but the subsidized rate will apply only to amounts up to 12 million and 6 million.

"For example, if you want to take out a loan (under the preferential mortgage program in the region. - RT) in the amount of 10 million rubles for 20 years, then you can get 6 million rubles at a preferential rate of 8%, and another 4 million rubles at a rate on market terms, "the DOM.RF company explained.

Within the framework of the program, the reduced interest rate is valid for the entire term of the loan, and the difference between the market and subsidized rates is reimbursed to banks by the state. In turn, the minimum down payment on preferential mortgages is now 15% of the cost of housing.

According to DOM.RF, the demand for subsidized housing loans has increased significantly in Russia recently. In the second quarter of 2023, Russians issued almost 190 thousand such loans totaling 920 billion rubles, which was the maximum result since the launch of preferential programs.

"The share of loans with state support reached 39% in the total number of disbursements, and in terms of volume amounted to more than half of all mortgage loans issued (51%). In total, taking into account market programs in April-June, banks provided 479 thousand loans worth 1.8 trillion rubles - 40% more in number and amount than in the same period last year, "the company's report says.

According to the authors of the report, preferential programs remain the main driver of growth in the entire mortgage market of the country. Meanwhile, against the backdrop of rush demand, the authorities probably decided to "weed out unreliable borrowers", including by increasing the down payment. This opinion was shared in an interview with RT by the vice-president of the International Academy of Mortgage and Real Estate Irina Radchenko.

"If we talk, for example, about Moscow and the Moscow region, then the first installment of 20% is several million rubles. It is clear that not everyone has such an amount, and those who have it are considered more reliable borrowers. For banks, such a measure is precautionary: financial institutions will no longer be able to increase mortgage portfolios at the expense of unreliable borrowers. As a result, this will prevent the emergence of a mortgage bubble," Radchenko explained.

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According to experts, in the summer the real estate market in Russia began to heat up further due to the weakening of the ruble, as in an attempt to save people, they began to invest more actively in square meters. In addition, after the decision of the Central Bank to raise the key rate from 8.5% to 12% per annum, the population sought to get loans faster until market conditions changed.

As a result, if in May the country issued mortgage loans for 580.5 billion rubles, then in June the figure rose to 626.7 billion, in July - to 656.5 billion, and in August the value reached 800 billion - the highest mark on record. This is stated in the materials of the Central Bank and VTB Bank.

The current situation has become an additional reason for the country's leadership to introduce protective measures in the field of lending and thereby avoid even greater overheating of the market, Irina Radchenko believes. A similar point of view is shared by the vice-president of the Russian Guild of Realtors Konstantin Aprelev.

"With the help of an increase in the volume of the first installment, the authorities are trying to temporarily reduce the issuance of preferential mortgages, cool and stabilize the market. In the current conditions, such a measure looks reasonable, "the interlocutor of RT emphasized.

Smooth completion

The preferential mortgage program was first launched back in 2020 to support the demand for real estate during the pandemic. According to experts of the Central Bank, the initiative turned out to be useful, but led to a rapid rise in the cost of new buildings and, as a result, a serious price gap in the primary and secondary housing markets.

If at the end of 2019, a square meter in an object under construction was sold on average in the country for 64 thousand rubles, and in finished houses - for about 59 thousand rubles, then by April 2023 the values increased to 127 thousand and 91 thousand rubles, respectively. Thus, in just a few years, the difference between the cost of housing in the primary and secondary markets in Russia has more than quadrupled - from 9 to 40%.

"The state mortgage program for subsidizing the loan rate, launched in 2020 as an anti-crisis measure, at the beginning of the action had a positive effect on the availability of primary housing purchased with a mortgage. But by 2021, against the backdrop of rising prices, outstripping the growth of nominal incomes of the population, the effect of improving financial lending conditions was exhausted," the Central Bank explained.

In December 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the need to curtail preferential mortgages. Meanwhile, as the head of state emphasized, the authorities will "do it smoothly." According to the Central Bank, such subsidized programs should cease to be widespread and become more targeted.

"Broad programs of preferential housing lending are a very effective mechanism in a crisis, but it should be temporary, because then the effects, primarily on the price and, accordingly, the affordability of housing, can become negative ... It is necessary to gradually develop targeted programs after the completion of the mass program of concessional lending in order to really increase the affordability of housing, to develop more targeted programs. (For example. - RT) we already have a family mortgage and the Far East, "the head of the regulator, Elvira Nabiullina, noted in June.

In addition, according to Konstantin Aprelev, the launch of special preferential programs for the purchase of ready-made housing could weaken the demand for new buildings in Russia. According to the expert, such a measure will again reduce the price gap in the primary and secondary markets.

"People are now taking out a loan for new buildings that have not yet been erected and are waiting for housing to be built. It is necessary to make programs for the secondary housing or start subsidizing the rate when the house is put into operation, "the specialist emphasized.