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Spain to approve mortgage support for more than 1 million households

Spanish officials approve on Tuesday (22 November) mortgage relief measures, including loan repayment extensions for up to seven years for more than one-million vulnerable households and middle-class family members, according to the economy ministry on Monday (21 November).

In the meantime, negotiations with Spanish banks associations were continuing, the ministry stated that the new measures would be approved by the cabinet.

Spain has around three quarters of its population as homeowners. Most opt for floating-rate mortgages to be more vulnerable to rapid interest rate rises.

The framework will allow banks to provide mortgage support for families with low incomes through an industry-wide code that outlines good practices. The income threshold was set at €25,200.

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Vulnerable households can restructure their mortgages at a lower rate of interest during a grace period of five years, as set by the 2012 industry-wide code for good practice. This is voluntary, but it becomes mandatory when lenders follow it.

Grace periods allow borrowers the ability to defer payments on the principal of the loan, without incurring late fees or causing default.

The ministry stated that the period for debt cancellation has been extended by 2 years. It also includes the possibility of second restructuring if needed.

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A two-year grace period is available for vulnerable families who spend more than half of their monthly income to pay their mortgage. However, they must not exceed the 50% increase in mortgage payments as set out in the previous code.

Additionally, the government will implement a new code for good practice to help middle-class families at high risk of vulnerability. The income threshold will be set at less than 29,400 euro.

Lenders must be prepared to offer these options: a 12-month lock on repayments; a lower interest rate on deferred principal; an extension of the loan if the mortgage burden exceeds 30% of the borrower’s income or the cost has increased by at least 20%.

Mortgage relief will be in effect by next year.

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