Household borrowing remains large
Economist at Eesti Pank
- The growth in the volume of car leases accelerated even further in April
- Real estate companies borrowed a little more modestly than in previous months
- Bank deposits continued to grow strongly in April and were up 10% over the year
Borrowing by households was again large in April, with especially strong demand for car leases. The value of new car leases signed in April was 43% larger than in the previous April, and the yearly growth in the portfolio of car leases accelerated to 20%. Other consumption loans also grew fast, at a yearly rate of 9%. The strong growth in consumption loans reflects both the favourable economic environment and the increased supply. Consumption loans provide a substantially smaller share of the loan and lease portfolio than do housing loans at only 9%.
Interest in housing loans remained strong among households in April. Some 101 million euros of new housing loans were taken out, which was 15% more than at the same time a year earlier. The yearly growth in the portfolio was 6.7%, like it has been for the past half year.
The new corporate loans issued in April were more evenly divided between sectors than in earlier months of the year. Some 213 million euros of new corporate loans were issued, which was a little less than at the same time a year earlier. Although real estate and construction remained the sectors that took the largest amount of new loans, like before, the amount they took in loans was less than in previous months. Given that loans to real estate and construction account for a large share of the portfolio of the banks, a more even division of loans represents positive progress. Companies in agriculture stood out particularly for borrowing more than in previous months.
The average interest rate on new long-term corporate loans was a little higher in April than it was a year ago at 2.7%. This was partly because fewer loan contracts for large loans with low rates were signed in April. In the second half of last year there were some individual large loan projects with low interest rates that affected the average margin quite significantly. The average interest rate for housing loans remained at 2.4%, which is comparable to what it was a year earlier.
Alongside the elevated activity in borrowing, deposits also grew strongly. The deposits of both households and companies were up 10% on a year earlier, meaning they grew faster than the loan and lease portfolios. At the end of April the total deposits of companies and households stood at 13.2 billion euros.
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 The corporate loan portfolio shrank over the year as one bank moved a substantial share of its loans to the portfolio of its foreign parent bank in the autumn. Without that, the yearly growth in the corporate loan and lease portfolio would have been around 6%.