Consumption-led economic growth was the strategy in Romania in recent years. Although slowing, this continues in 2019.
The bank tax was pushed by the government from the beginning of 2019, taking the whole banking industry, the national bank, the global rating agencies, by surprise. This created a storm in the industry, trying to overtax banks to levels considered unsustainable.
Fixed interest rates are gaining share, enabling greater predictability for both banks and consumers due to the risky exposure variable interest rates bring (in this case not affected by the IRCC/ROBOR change). Pressured by the government, the National Bank of Romania (BNR) announced a new reference index for consumer credit (IRCC), which is to replace the ROBOR Index, according to which Romanians’ instalments for loans will be calculated.
The Romanian real estate market has enjoyed strong recovery in recent years, a trend evident in rising property prices, the increasing number of transactions, and the need for financing solutions. Supported by strong economic growth and rising incomes, consumers are increasingly confident entering into long-term commitments, such as purchases of property.
With falling funds every year, the Prima Casa programme is expected to see significant transformation over the forecast period. With a well-known property culture, increasing incomes and/or a natural need to move to more modern housing, mortgages/housing lending is expected to see positive growth in both gross lending and outstanding balance, albeit at much lower rates than seen in recent years.
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