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Carney wins control over buy-to-let lending policy

  • 16/11/2016
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Carney wins control over buy-to-let lending policy
Mark Carney has won his fight to gain control over mortgage lending policy in the buy-to-let market which he says is necessary to protect the financial system from future risks caused by the sector.

From early 2017, the Financial Policy Committee (FPC) will have the power to tell the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority to place limits on loan-to-values and interest coverage ratios for regulated lenders in the buy-to-let sector.

The FPC is responsible for identifying, monitoring and taking action to remove or reduce systemic risks in the financial system. The new powers of direction will enhance the FPC’s existing macro-prudential toolkit – the tools it has at its disposal to head off potential threats to financial stability should they arise.

It follows the FPC recommending that it be given additional powers of direction over both the residential mortgage lending market and the buy-to-let mortgage market in September 2014. The government granted the FPC powers over the residential mortgage lending market in April 2015. The government consulted on the FPC’s recommended powers relating to the buy-to-let market from 17 December 2015 to 11 March 2016.

The consultation noted the positive impact of buy-to-let landlords in the economy and the role they play in widening and balancing the overall housing market. They provide good quality accommodation for those who cannot at this point afford to buy a home, or who do not wish to commit to home ownership for personal or employment reasons, it said. At the same time, the consultation set out the financial stability risks that buy-to-let lending may pose and how the FPC’s recommended tools would address these risks and ensure long-term economic stability.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “It is crucial that Britain’s independent regulators have the tools they need to keep our financial system as safe as possible.

“Expanding the number of tools at the Financial Policy Committee’s disposal will ensure that the buy-to-let sector can continue to make an important contribution to our economy, while allowing the regulator to address any potential risks to financial stability.”

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