Reduced Eurozone Mortgage Lending Prompts Housing Market Concern

Frankfurt–Mortgage lending in the eurozone is increasing at the slowest rate on record–and, as a result, housing markets are waning, according to the Financial Times. Home purchase lending increased at an annual rate of only 6.1 percent in March–the weakest rate since at least 2000 and a drop from February’s 6.6 percent pace, the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank said Friday. Home prices have declined in Spain and Ireland; on the other hand, Germany–Europe’s largest economy–avoided much of the global property boom. The eurozone’s future could hinge on France–its second largest economy–where prices have risen in recent years. Home price inflation has been declining since its 2005 peak–an annual rate of 16 percent–and may be about to turn negative, the Times said.