Euro Area Mortgage Debt Outstanding Continues to Expand


In the US, the multi-year decline and the more recent moderate recovery in mortgage debt outstanding has been well documented. However, mortgage debt outstanding in the Euro Area has had a different experience. According to the European Mortgage Federation, and documented in Figure 1 below, mortgage debt outstanding has been rising in recent years. After recording year-over-year increases between 2002, the first year of available data, and 2007, the onset of the global financial crisis, mortgage debt outstanding across the 28-country Euro Area experienced a decline in 2008. However, this decline was small and short-lived. Total mortgage debt outstanding across the Euro Area fell by 2.5% between 2007 and 2008, but resumed growth in 2009, eclipsing its 2007 level in that year. By 2013, total mortgage debt outstanding totaled €6.7 trillion, 111% of its 2007 level.


Although the amount of mortgage debt outstanding in 2013 exceeds its level in 2007, the underlying composition has changed somewhat. In 2007, the four countries with the largest amount of mortgage debt outstanding were the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Spain. Together they accounted for 67.9% of all mortgage debt outstanding in the Euro Area. Each of these four countries accounted for more than 10% of all Euro Area outstanding mortgage debt.

By 2013, their combined share was 63.7%, 4.2 percentage points below its level in 2007. Three of these 4 countries saw declines in 2013 from their level in 2007, while one country, France, saw an overall expansion in their share of mortgage debt outstanding. According to Figure 2, the share held by the United Kingdom declined by 4.1 percentage points to 22.9%, the share held by Germany fell by 1.2 percentage points to 18.1% and the proportion held by Span declined by 1.6 percentage points to 9.2%. Meanwhile, the share held by France rose by 2.6 percentage points to 13.5%.


According to the Table below, France recorded the largest share increase between 2007, the year prior to the 2008 decline in total Euro Area mortgage debt outstanding, and 2013, the most recent year of available data. At 1.5 percentage points, Sweden had the second largest expansion. The share of mortgage debt outstanding in Italy rose by 1.0 percent points between 2007 and 2013. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, a country that accounted for 9.2% of outstanding mortgage debt in the Euro Area in 2007, now represents 9.5%, making it the 4th largest country by mortgage debt outstanding replacing Spain.


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