Staff Working Paper No. 866
By José-Luis Peydró, Francesc Rodriguez-Tous, Jagdish Tripathy and Arzu Uluc
Macroprudential regulators worldwide have introduced regulations to limit household leverage in light of existing evidence which suggests that high leverage is associated with household distress during crisis. We analyse the distributional effects of such a macroprudential policy on mortgage and house price cycles. For identification, we exploit the universe of UK mortgages and a 15%-limit imposed in 2014 on lenders — not households — for high loan-to-income ratio (LTI) mortgages. Despite some regulatory arbitrage (eg increases in LTV and average loan size), more-constrained lenders issue fewer high-LTI mortgages. Partial substitution by less-constrained lenders leads to overall credit contraction to low-income borrowers in local-areas more exposed to constrained-lenders, lowering house price growth. Following the Brexit referendum (which led to house-price correction), the 2014-policy strongly implies — via lower pre-correction debt — better house prices and mortgage defaults during an episode of house price correction.