Why lower house prices could lead to higher mortgage rates

Fergus Cumming and Danny Walker

Bank Rate has risen by more than 5 percentage points in the UK over the past couple of years. This has led to much higher mortgage rates for many people. In this post we analyse another potential source of pressure on mortgagors: the potential for falls in house prices to push borrowers into higher – and therefore more expensive – loan to value (LTV) bands. In a scenario where house prices fall by 10% and high LTV spreads rise by 100 basis points, we estimate that an additional 350,000 mortgagors could be pushed above an LTV of 75%, which could increase their annual repayments by an extra £2,000 on average. This could have a material impact on the economy.

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Bias, fairness, and other ethical dimensions in artificial intelligence

Kathleen Blake

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an increasingly important feature of the financial system with firms expecting the use of AI and machine learning to increase by 3.5 times over the next three years. The impact of bias, fairness, and other ethical considerations are principally associated with conduct and consumer protection. But as set out in DP5/22, AI may create or amplify financial stability and monetary stability risks. I argue that biased data or unethical algorithms could exacerbate financial stability risks, as well as conduct risks.

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Unifying monetary and macroprudential policy

Julia Giese, Michael McLeay, David Aikman and Sujit Kapadia

Central banks have been using a range of monetary policy and macroprudential tools to maintain monetary and financial stability. But when should monetary versus macroprudential tools be used and how should they be combined? Our recent paper develops a macroeconomic model to answer these questions. We find that two instruments are better than one. Used alone, interest rates can control inflation, but are ineffective for financial stability. Policymakers can do better by also deploying the countercyclical capital buffer, a tool that varies the amount of additional capital banks must set aside. The appropriate combination of tools can vary: both should tighten to counter a joint expansion of credit and activity, but move in opposite directions during an exuberance-driven credit boom.

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Central clearing and the functioning of government bond markets

Yuliya Baranova, Eleanor Holbrook, David MacDonald, William Rawstorne, Nicholas Vause and Georgia Waddington

The functioning of major government bond and related repo markets has deteriorated on several occasions in recent years as trading demand has overwhelmed dealers’ intermediation capacity. Seeking a remedy, Duffie (2020) proposes a study of the costs and benefits of a clearing mandate in these markets. Such a policy could boost dealers’ intermediation capacity by allowing more of their trades to be netted, thereby reducing their balance sheet exposures and capital requirements. In a recent staff working paper, we estimate the effects of comprehensive central clearing of cash gilt and gilt repo trades on UK dealer balance sheets during one particular stress episode. This post summarises those quantitative results and discusses qualitatively other costs and benefits of broader central clearing.

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The transmission of macroprudential policy in the tails

Álvaro Fernández-Gallardo, Simon Lloyd and Ed Manuel

Since the 2007–09 Global Financial Crisis, central banks have developed a range of macroprudential policies (‘macropru’) to address fault lines in the financial system. A key aim of macropru is to reduce ‘left-tail risks‘ – ie, minimise the probability and severity of future economic crises. However, building this resilience could influence other parts of the GDP-growth distribution and so may not always be costless. In our Working Paper, we gauge these potential costs and benefits by estimating the effects of macropru on the entire GDP-growth distribution, and explore its transmission channels. We find that macropru is effective at reducing the variance of GDP growth, and that it does so by reducing the probability and severity of excessive credit booms.

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Leveraged and inverse ETFs – the exotic side of exchange-traded funds

Julian Oakland

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are supposed to be simple and straightforward, and for the most part they are, but one group punches well above its weight when it comes to market impact. In this post, I show that leveraged and inverse (L&I) ETFs generate rebalancing flows that: (1) are always in the same direction of the underlying market move; (2) grow significantly with both increasing and inverse leverage; and (3) must be transacted towards the end of the trading day. These features give rebalancing flows the potential to amplify market moves when markets are at their most vulnerable. L&I ETFs do not currently pose a risk to UK financial stability, but this could change if they grow in popularity.

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Shining light on ‘shadow credit’ – what is Buy-Now-Pay-Later and who uses it?

Gerry Gunner and James Waddell

Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) is a relatively new form of consumer credit that you might have noticed as a payment option when shopping online or in person. However, there is little analysis in the public domain about who is using BNPL credit in the UK and its contribution to total household debt. We have used the Bank’s NMG Consulting survey to reveal that BNPL borrowers are typically younger adults and renters, and are more likely to report signs of financial distress.

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A quick dive into SME finance

Kim Nyamushonongora and Oscar Spencer

99.9% of UK businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), employing 61% of the UK population. Yet, we know so much more about large businesses, how they function and particularly how they finance themselves. SMEs have been referred to as the backbone of economies around the world. Therefore, SME’s access to finance is systemically important. Using the SME Finance Monitor, a cross-sectional survey by BVA BDRC on 4,500 SMEs each quarter, we dive into how many SMEs use finance, what finance types they used prior to Covid and during Covid, what characteristics make them more likely to use finance and other relevant questions around SME financing. SMEs are defined as having 249 or less employees.

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Bomadland: How the Bank of Mum and Dad helps kids buy homes

May Rostom

On average, parental contributions help children buy homes four years earlier than those without them. Out of every 100 new homeowners below the age of 30, 16 will have had help from ‘the Bank of Mum and Dad’, or Bomad for short. That rises to one in four new homeowners under the age of 25. Those who have had help from their parents put down a deposit twice as large, bought bigger first homes, and had smaller mortgage payments than those who did not. Anecdotes about cash assistance from Mum and Dad have recently been backed up by evidence from Legal & General, which implies Bomad plays a non-trivial role in the housing market. I attempt to investigate its prevalence.

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Lifting the lid on a liquidity crisis

Lydia Henning, Simon Jurkatis, Manesh Powar and Gian Valentini

Autumn 2022 saw some of the largest intraday moves in gilt yields in history. It was then that jargon normally confined to financial stability papers entered into mainstream commentary – ‘LDI’, ‘doom loop’, ‘deleveraging’. And it was then that the Bank of England engaged in an unprecedented financial stability motivated government bond market intervention. What happened and why has been set out in detail in official Bank communications. This article instead hovers a magnifying glass over transaction-level regulatory data on derivative, repurchase agreements (repo) and bond markets to quantify liability-driven investment (LDI) and pension fund behaviour and enrich our understanding of these exceptional few weeks of stress.

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