The land of cheap mortgages just went to zero
The country with the longest history of negative central bank rates is offering homeowners 20-year loans at a fixed interest rate of zero.
Customers at the Danish home-finance unit of Nordea Bank Abp can, as of Tuesday, get the mortgages, which will carry a lower coupon than benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasuries.
Denmark stands out in a global context as the country to have lived with negative central bank rates longer than any other. Back in 2012, policy makers drove their main rate below zero to defend the krone’s peg to the euro. Since then, Danish homeowners have enjoyed continuous slides in borrowing costs.
The once unthinkable notion of borrowing for two decades without paying interest comes as central bankers shy away from rate hikes. No major western central bank is likely to raise rates this year, according to Bloomberg’s quarterly review of monetary policy.
Danske Bank A/S, Denmark’s biggest lender, says it’s also considering issuing a 20-year bond with no interest.
Banks in Denmark first issued 20-year bonds with 0% coupons a few years ago, as investors looking for a safe place to park their money drove down rates in the Danish mortgage-backed covered-bond market. This is the first time since then such a product has been returned to the shelves.
Demand is there, Lisa Bergmann, chief housing economist at Nordea Kredit, said in a note. The bond is likely to price close to a record high, she said.