13 Nov 2020

ANZ joins ASB in reintroducing LVR for investors

1:57 pm on 13 November 2020

ANZ has become the second bank to reimpose limits on low-deposit lending to property investors.

Generic exteriors of ANZ office

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The Reserve Bank plans to consult banks about bringing back loan-to-value ratios next year, but ASB jumped the gun and reintroduced one yesterday.

The LVRs were suspended by the RBNZ when Covid-19 first emerged as part of its measures to keep money flowing through the economy.

The central bank is set to bring them back in March to cool risky lending in the booming property market which had been driven, in part, by property investors taking advantage of record low interest rates.

"Today we've made the decision to increase the deposit required by property investors to 30 percent, up from the current 20 percent for new home lending applications from 7 December," ANZ managing director of personal business Ben Kelleher said.

October had been a record month of home lending for ANZ, with 31 percent of its loans going to property investors, while 19 percent went to first home buyers.

Kelleher said it was in everyone's interests for residential property prices to be sustainable and for home ownership to be accessible.

"Covid-19 has made the housing market and lending decisions more complex, and we believe that any steps we can take to increase balance and sustainability in the market is the right thing to do."

Of the other major banks, BNZ said it already had a prudent approach to lending and would not be reimposing the limits.

"As with all our price and credit settings, these remain under regular review, but we have no changes to announce at the moment," a BNZ spokesperson said.

Kiwibank echoed the same message, saying it would continue to lend responsibly and would be "acting in the spirit of the Reserve Bank's direction".

Westpac said it had never lifted the LVRs when the changes were first announced.

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