How Does Loan-To-Value Policy Strengthen Banks' Resilience to Property Price Shocks - Evidence from Hong Kong
This paper sheds light on the transmission mechanism of loan-to-value (LTV) policy to financial stability by providing three findings from Hong Kong. First, there is evidence that LTV cap tightening since 2009 has dampened both borrowers' leverage and credit growth, and that lower leverage has played a major role in strengthening banks' resilience to property price shocks. Second, the effect on loan growth is found to be state-dependent due to loan market disequilibrium, with a much stronger impact on loan supply than on demand, suggesting that calibrating this tool to curb loan growth needs an accurate estimate of both loan demand and supply. Operationally, this could pose challenges for policymakers. Finally, we find evidence of low responsiveness of housing demand to caps on LTV ratios, which is suggestive of a weak direct pass-through of LTV policy to the property market. These findings together support the view that operationally it would be optimal for LTV policy to primarily target household leverage, and that there are limitations in using this instrument to stabilise credit growth and property prices.
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