(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz used a campaign stop in Bavaria as an opportunity to defend the recent interest rate hikes by the European Central Bank, telling homeowners they shouldn’t have a problem with 4% rates.
“Inflation threatens economic growth and the financial power of citizens,” Scholz said at a campaign event in Nuremberg on Saturday. “That’s why it’s right that the central bank is moving strongly against it.”
Then Scholz told the audience that the ECB’s recent hike in the deposit rate to 4% shouldn’t be a problem for future home owners.
“Folks, in Western Germany 700,000 apartments were built in 1972. Do you know what the interest was back then? 9.5%!”
The Chancellor, who was once finance minister under his predecessor, Angela Merkel, continued to dispense economic history.
“Ask your parents, or if you sit here as older people: With what interest rates did you build your houses?”
Scholz’s audience of about 200 listeners remained silent and the Chancellor provided the answer to his own question: “Because you will hear, money was saved back then. The interest rates are not the problem.”
The real reason for the current crisis in the German housing market is the false assumption that the number of wealthy people in Germany is “infinitely large,” Scholz argued, hinting that developers weren’t building enough affordable housing.
German house prices dropped 9.9% in the second quarter from a year earlier, the statistics office reported Friday. This is the steepest decline since the time series began in 2000. Many economists blame housing declines on the ECB’s monetary-tightening campaign and uncertainty over government’s new energy regulations.
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