Macroprudential Limits on Mortgage Products: The Australian Experience

Nicholas Garvin, Alex Kearney and Corrine Rosé in this RBA paper evaluate impact of macroprudential policy on Australian banks:

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority implemented 2 credit limits between 2014 and 2018. Unlike similar policies in other countries, these imposed limits on particular mortgage products – first investor mortgages, then interest-only (IO) mortgages. With prudential bank-level panel data, we empirically identify banks’ credit supply and interest rate responses and test for other effects of these policies.

The policies quickly reduced growth in the targeted type of credit while total mortgage growth remained steady. Banks met the limits by raising interest rates on targeted mortgage products and this lifted their income temporarily. The largest banks substituted into non-targeted mortgage products while smaller banks did not. Practical implementation difficulties slowed effects of the (first) investor policy, and led to some disproportionate bank responses, but had largely been overcome by the time the (second) IO policy was implemented.

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