Housing prices finally level off

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After many months of ever-rising housing prices, they finally leveled off in April, rising a relatively modest 0.2 percent from March. The year-to-year figures, however, still showed an increase of 12.2 percent.

That worries economists and not least the International Monetary Fund, which warned Norwegian officials last month to put the brakes on home lending. Extremely low interest rates and high demand have led to the record high residential real estate prices that in turn have further increased debt levels.

Norwegian authorities should evaluate stricter mortgage lending regulations in order to reduce debt growth, the IMF wrote in its latest report on the Norwegian economy. What’s needed, the IMF wrote, is a better balance between housing supply and demand.

Many Norwegian economists think a widely expected interest rate rise later this year will help lower prices, and perhaps already is. “This (the lower price growth in April) is the first sign,” Kjersti Haugland, chief economist at DNB Markets, told news service E24.

newsinenglish.no staff