Brussels, 18 December 2007
The European Commission has published a White Paper on the Integration of EU Mortgage Markets. The White Paper summarises the conclusions of a comprehensive review of European residential mortgage markets and presents a balanced 'package' of measures to improve the efficiency and the competitiveness of these markets, to the benefit of consumers, mortgage lenders and investors alike. This is to be achieved in particular through improvement in the areas of cross-border supply, product diversity, consumer empowerment and customer mobility.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "This balanced package of measures is designed to bring about a more efficient and competitive EU mortgage market where consumers can shop around for the best product for their needs, confident in the fact that their lender acts in a responsible manner."
Evidence shows that the single market for residential mortgages is far from
integrated. Obstacles exist that restrict the level of cross-border activity on
the supply and demand sides, thus reducing competition and choice in the market.
While the influence of factors such as language, distance, consumer preferences
or lender business strategies cannot be underestimated, other factors, which
prevent the conduct or substantially raise the cost of business for offering or
taking out a mortgage credit in another EU Member State, can be addressed by
appropriate policy initiatives. The potential benefits of removing these
barriers could, according to some estimates, reduce the interest payable on a
EUR 100 000 mortgage loan by as much as EUR 470 per year.
Recent events both in the US and in Europe have shown the economic and social importance of mortgage credit. Where possible and appropriate, the White Paper also draws on the initial lessons that can already be learnt from the recent turbulence in financial markets.
Non-legislative solutions are announced in particular in the field of land
registration, property valuation, and forced sales procedures. The Commission
does not rule out proposing future legislative measures if they are deemed
necessary. However, until a rigorous impact assessment, including a quantitative
cost-benefit analysis, has been undertaken and further consultation with all
stakeholders have been concluded, the Commission considers that it would be
premature to decide on whether a legislative approach would at this stage
deliver the necessary value added.