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NZ Herald business editor at large

Liam Dann: Reserve Bank makes the right call


The Reserve Bank has made the right call to toughen property lending restrictions.

The new rules are no silver bullet. In fact they are a blunt and unwieldy weapon.

They won't be popular.

Some first-home buyers will suffer. Investors will say restrictions limit rental supply. Others argue they'll make it easier for cashed-up buyers to cherry pick.

These are valid criticisms of a policy that nobody claims is perfect.

But they don't outweigh the need for regulatory action to slow price growth while we wait for supply side solutions.

The combination of limited supply, record low interest rates and record immigration has created a once in a generation crisis.

We can't afford to do nothing.

But will they actually work?

The Reserve Bank is adamant that the loan-to-value ratios already in place have worked well.

Governor Graeme Wheeler says they have ensured that some $20 billion worth of highly leveraged lending did not happen.

The Bank's primary goal is to ensure New Zealand's financial stability. Yesterday it warned that credit growth and prices have resumed their rise.

"As a result the risk to a future correction of house prices has increased," the bank says.
As tough as it may seem, its job is to remain focused on the collective risk - regardless of any collateral damage it may cause.

The central bank says these are temporary measures.

The path to seeing them removed is in the hands of the politicians and councils as they struggle to get more houses built.

- NZ Herald

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NZ Herald business editor at large

Liam Dann is business editor at large at the New Zealand Herald. He has been a journalist for 20 years, covering business for the last 14 of them. He has also worked in the banking sector in London and travelled extensively. His passion is for Markets and Economics, because they are the engine of the New Zealand economy. He hosts The Economy Hub video show every Thursday.

Read more by Liam Dann

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