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Argentina looks to triple mortgage loans in 2018

The Argentine government wants the country's banks to grant 150,000 mortgage loans next year, tripling from the 50,000 set to be disbursed in 2017, Leandro Cuccioli, the country's Secretary of Financial Services told La Nación.

Overall, the government hopes that mortgage loans will top the 1 million mark by 2023, the secretary said.

The comments come after state-run banks recently launched 30-year inflation-indexed mortgages in March as part of the government's effort to increase Argentina's stagnate mortgage lending environment. The loans are denominated in Argentine pesos and carry interest rates that adjust based on the country's new UVA inflation index and are markedly lower compared to most credit products in the country.

Private banks have since followed suit with offering similar mortgage loan products.

State-run Banco de la Nación Argentina, the country's biggest bank, reportedly disbursed the biggest chunk out of the around 14 billion Argentine pesos that banks have already lent in the 30-year inflation-indexed mortgages as of the end of July, for which the bank has set aside some 30 billion pesos to fund in 2017.

Cuccioli described the growth in mortgage lending as "sustainable and without limits." The government reportedly sees ample room for growth as Argentina's mortgage debt relative to its GDP is only 0.8%. By comparison, the ratio is 77.1% in the U.S, the publication noted.

Argentine mortgage lending also only represents about 13% of total credit to the private sector, placing the country at the bottom of the region's ranking.

As of Aug. 8, US$1 was equivalent to 17.71 Argentine pesos.