The Bank of Queensland fears efforts to rein in Sydney’s booming housing market will hurt the rest of the country.
Chairman Roger Davis has warned the Reserve Bank to take care as it considers so-called macroprudential changes aimed at preventing banks from issuing high-risk loans.
Moves to slow house price growth in Sydney, where values are up 15 per cent in the past year, could end up hurting other, less buoyant markets, he said.
“We must caution against any macroprudential changes which are designed to address the Sydney and Melbourne markets but may have unintended consequences in other areas where growth is more subdued,” he told the bank’s annual general meeting.
Brisbane house prices have risen about six per cent year-on-year since 2012, but were still four per cent lower than they were in 2010, Mr Davis said.
Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s said on Thursday it was increasingly likely the RBA would adopt some form of macroprudential measures to protect the financial system from the fallout of a downturn in property prices.
The agency said it believed the RBA would force banks to hold more capital against loans and be more conservative in assessing borrower’s ability to repay mortgages.
That would likely reduce the number of loans to property investors, which could in turn slow house price growth, S&P said.
The RBA has indicated an announcement of measures to prevent lending growth getting out of control will be made before the end of the year.
Acting chief executive Jon Sutton said BoQ had recorded a 20 per cent jump in home loan approvals between September and October, despite strong competition.
He said the growth was being driven in part by the bank’s decision to start working with mortgage brokers.
The bank had started the 2014/15 financial year well and would benefit from any improvement in the Queensland economy, Mr Sutton said.
“Subject to macro conditions, we expect sustainable growth in earnings and dividends to continue,” he told shareholders.
Mr Sutton has been acting chief executive since the sudden departure of former CEO Stuart Grimshaw, who departed in August after less than three years in the role.