Caixa Econômica predicts a 10% rise in real estate credit in 2022

Credit: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Executive President of Caica Econômica Federal, Pedro Guimarães (Credit: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino)

By Aluisio Alves

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Caixa Econômica Federal forecasts a 10% increase in lending for property purchases in 2022, a slowdown compared to last year, amid the cycle of hikes in the basic interest rate, said the chief executive. of the state bank, Pedro Guimarães.

“We are going to grow 10% and exceed 150 billion reais in concessions,” Guimarães said in a telephone interview with Reuters.

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The largest real estate lender in the country, Caixa had a stock of financing in the sector of 542 billion reais last September, the latest public data, up 8.7% in 12 months.

In 2021 through September, Caixa granted 104 billion reais in real estate loans, up 27.9% over a year earlier. In annualized terms, the concessions should exceed 135 billion reais in the accumulated last year. If the forecast for this year is reached, there would therefore be a slowdown.

Driven by the drop in the Selic to a historic low of 2% per year, real estate credit had strong growth between 2020 and the beginning of last year. But that pace has been losing steam since the Central Bank began to raise the base rate quickly to try to cool inflation, which surpassed 10% in 2021.

According to Abecip, an entity that represents real estate lenders in the country, the granting of credit in the sector in November rose 26.8% compared to the same month of 2020. Although still strong, disbursements have slowed. In March, year-on-year growth had been 172.7%.

Currently at 9.25% per year, the country’s basic interest rate is still likely to increase further, according to most economists’ projections, and could exceed 11% in the coming months.

For Guimarães, however, as it has lower interest rates than most competitors, especially with lines less impacted by inflation, such as the SBPE, Caixa should continue to expand disbursements at a higher rate.

According to data from real estate brokerage Akamines, the lowest rate currently charged by Caixa is 8.3% per annum + TR, compared to 9.99% for Santander Brasil, and 9.5% for Bradesco and Itaú Unibanco.

According to the executive, the recent combination of rising inflation and interest rates was reflected in a “small increase” in the number of defaults on mortgage loans at Caixa in recent months, but the bank has the flexibility to negotiate with borrowers without having to resume the real estate.

Since mid-2020, Caixa has granted breaks in the payment of installments to around 2.5 million borrowers, in the wake of the crisis triggered by Covid-19. Guimarães said that at the moment he does not consider opening new breaks.

“We don’t see a need for that now,” said the executive.

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