While the Box has already announced that it will reduce interest rates on real estate financing this week, even with the Selic on the rise, the other big banks are going in the opposite direction and are increasing their rates by about 1 percentage point in traditional credit lines. It is a move that anticipates the meeting next week of the Monetary Policy Committee (Copom), of the central bank, what should raise the basic interest rate by at least 1 point, taking the Selic to 6.25% per year.
Who pulled the line for raises was the bank Santander, which increased, on the last 4th, the interest on real estate credit from 7.99% per year, plus the variation of the Referential Rate (TR), to 8.99%, according to the institution. Then came the Bradesco, which since Monday, 13, started to have rates ranging between 8.50% and 8.90% per year plus TR, depending on the client’s profile. As of this Wednesday, the 15th, the Itaú Unibanco begins to charge 8.30% per year plus TR variation in traditional financing, compared to the interest of 7.30% per year in effect previously.
In mortgage loans with interest linked to savings, Itaú reduced the rate from 3.45% to 2.99% per year and Bradesco maintained the rate at 2.99% per year. But, in this case, this portion is added to the variation in savings, which corresponds to 70% of the Selic. And when the base interest rate increases, this portion follows.
The rise in the cost of financing does not surprise entrepreneurs and industry specialists, who put into perspective the impact of this arrangement brake on sales. “It’s obvious that each time the rate increases it’s not good for anyone, but historically we’ve been working with low interest rates, compared to everything that happened in the past”, says José Romeu Ferraz Neto, real estate vice president at Sinduscon-SP, the Civil Construction Industry Union, which brings together construction companies and contractors.
Celso Petrucci, chief economist of Secovi-SP, the Housing Union, agrees with the vice president of Sinduscon. Considering all types of real estate credit, the median interest rate before this readjustment was around 6.5% and now it goes to something between 7.5% and 8%. “It’s not the best of both worlds, but it’s still below the median rates charged two years ago, which ranged between 10% and 10.5% a year,” says the economist.
Ferraz Neto does not believe that this rise in interest rates on financing will uniformly affect the market. Usually, the poorest are the most punished. But, at this time, this effect may be offset by the reduction in interest rates on real estate financing, which should be announced by Caixa later this week. The state bank accounts for 67% of real estate credit and this share jumps to 99% in the case of low-income families.
In any case, high interest rates act as a major obstacle, especially for the poorest, to purchase their own home. For every 1 percentage point increase in the rate, there is an 8% increase in the value of the installment and also an 8% increase in the income required for approval of the financing, explains the chief economist of Secovi-SP. Thus, an installment, for example, which would have been R$1 thousand before the readjustment, would rise to R$1,080. In the case of a hypothetical required income of R$4,000, it would jump to R$4,320.
Economist Eduardo Zylberstajn, coordinator of Fipezap, a website specializing in the real estate market, says that the rise in mortgage interest rates was a normal and expected movement by the sector, given the current macroeconomic problems, such as rising inflation and fiscal maladjustment, in addition to the political uncertainty that has increased in recent weeks .
He recalls that the recent records of sales and launches broken by the sector are the result of favorable credit conditions. “If we return to double-digit interest rates, this impacts the market a lot and then we may have difficulties in the harvest of new releases”, he observes, considering that at the moment this is not the most likely scenario. The economist explains, however, that the real estate production cycle is long. That is, what is being launched today will be financed within two to three years, when the work is completed.
As for the risk of stranding of properties available on the market due to the recent rise in interest rates on financing, Petrucci emphasizes that the market is “very healthy”. The number of properties launched, under construction and finished unsold in the city of São Paulo, for example, totaled 45 thousand units on July 31st. Meanwhile, sales accumulated in the last 12 months were 65 thousand units, points out the economist.