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Zero interest loans: the staggering decline in the number of granted PTZs

(Photo credits! © Jérôme Rommé –

With the increase in property prices, the year 2022 has changed the situation for households who want to become home owners. And the figures, which are falling sharply, linked to the zero-interest loan, confirm this trend.

Every quarter, the Funding and Guarantee Management Company for Social Home Ownership (SGFGAS) lists the number of zero-interest loans (PTZ) granted by the various banking institutions. In a context where access to real estate credit has become more difficult, this data comes at the right time to take stock of a particular system, dedicated to low-income households. Analysis of the latest figures published for Q3 2022.

3,000 fewer zero-interest loans compared to 2021

The zero-interest loan is a form of financing that, as the name suggests, makes it possible to obtain credit at an interest rate of 0%. His goal? Help households become owners of their new or old home, house or apartment with work. It must definitely be backed up by other financing, such as a classic mortgage, and can amount to up to 40% of the total purchase price. On the other hand, it is only granted to the most modest households, and maximum income conditions apply.

Nevertheless, 2022 has been a difficult year for PTZ. Compared to the third quarter of 2021, the number of granted zero-interest loans fell drastically in the period from July to September 2022. Thus, 3,177 fewer financing cases were granted by the banks, from 19,429 PTZ in the third quarter of 2021 to 16,252 in the same quarter of 2022. Overall, the decrease, which SGFGAS has noted, 16%.

Read also: Real estate credit: towards a liberation of the situation for borrowers at the beginning of 2023?

The typical profile of borrowers who have been successful in obtaining a PTZ

The decrease in the number of PTZs affected almost all of France. Depending on the region, the change was between -8% and -27%. Only Corsica fared well with an increase of +12%, still between Q3 2021 and Q3 2022. Normandy (-27%) was the most affected region in France, followed by Center -Val de Loire (- 26% ) and Île-de-France (-21%).

On average, borrowers who managed to get a zero-interest loan borrowed 51,232 euros. Half (49%) of these happy households were between the ages of 26 and 35, a number that logically correlates with one of the conditions for granting PTZ: being a first-time buyer, that is, not already the owner of one’s main residence . Three-quarters of these purchases were for new property.

An unfavorable context for mortgage loans

If the number of PTZ drops sharply, it is not by chance. The year 2022 was marked by the increase in interest rates after several years of particularly low interest rates. At the same time, property prices have not fallen, on the contrary. With high rates and prices, it is not surprising that access to property credit has become more difficult for households looking to own their home, a second home or who are considering investing in new properties.

Another related problem has arisen: the interest rate, i.e. the maximum rate at which a bank can lend, has developed out of step with the bank financing market. Result: some households whose case could have passed have been denied financing because of an interest rate higher than the usurious rate. However, this problem is on the way to being solved, as the Bank of France has announced that from now on the wear rate will be recalculated every month to avoid this situation.




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