It is quite common to have any bigger loans in CHF, not only mortages but also car loans are avaliable in this form. With big drop in USD rates I would exepect a USD mortages to be next big thing.
Some of you mentioned that there is some risk associated with exchange rate. Well, that is not so much the issue. At any moment you can change currency, if you have a bad feeling about CHF. Influence of currency rate change is not sigificant, if PLN would drop 20% your mortage payment would go up only 25%. It may sound much, but on other hand as we are to enter Euro our national bank(NBP) and ECB would stabilize currency - as it happened in Hungary (thank you all Euro taxpayers). The risk is in actual rates, even small fluctuation of rate of Swiss national bank in first years where you pay mostly intrest could have a tremendous impact on you repayment.
Now at some point of time our bank regulator has become concerned about it, as majority of mortages were in Swiss francs. So callled “Recomendation S” by financial regulator. It suggests that banks should use a lot of caution, assume Swiss rates would skyrocket, franc would appreciate and then calculate credit risk. They also have to suggest customer taking 50% more expensive mortage in PLN, and make him sign that he understands currency risk. On the side it also requests bank to evaluate LTV yearly, which could have interesting implications during price crash. Anyway recomendation is useless, as banks just readjusted their calculators of risk - they would calculate if you can repay 20% higher installment than planned, but calculator would slash cost of living by half. So it goes…
It has been proven that banks are reckless to lend money, so you might ask why Polish would take such risky loans. There multiple fundamentals that shield average Kowalski. First of all, as all you certainly agree, properties always go up in price - it was like that for a few years now. Second reason, Polish currency goes always up - also true for last few years. Above two reasons maked us crazy about buying, you would see queues in mortage departments, in my last Polish job people would discuss properties on lunch breaks all the time. You could see people that bought a aparement, and after a year or two it would double price and 20% of mortage would disappear. Third reason were Islands as we call UK&Eire. If you can’t repay you get a Ryanair ticket, and after half a year your finances are back to normal. So we started to take loans, credit cards so we could live the Western life… I would guess that back in 2000 if you asked people on the bus, they would not know what mortage is. Now every week some kind of credit advisor would call you.
Poland has nothing to worry regarding property market. Our 54 sq. m apartements cost 10-12 time average salary, so we have to take foreign currency backed 110% LTV loans 45 year which take 60% of income to pay them. We have been really waiting for them, since 1970ties there was little being build, and every goverment elected/send from Moscow did not help to solve the issue. When I talk with my Polish friends, who stayed home, about economy and politics (there are 2 out of 3 subject that every Pole is expert) they deeply admire Irish, as they could build so many houses per capita in one year. Our goverment is hardly working to make a second Ireland in Poland, at least they promised that. And 3 million apartments as well.