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Banks in 87 Chinese Cities Seen Cutting Mortgage Rates

Banks in 87 cities cut mortgage rates in February, a research group said, in a bid to boost sales in China’s property market chilled by efforts to cut huge amounts of debt held by some developers


China REITs rise
A man walks past a housing complex in Guangzhou. File photo: AFP.

 

Banks in nearly 90 Chinese cities cut mortgage rates in February, a private research group said, in a bid to boost sales in a residential property market chilled by a prolonged liquidity crunch for many developers.

Mortgage rates in 87 out of 103 cities surveyed by Beike Research Institute have come down, with 30 of them, including Beijing, leading with cuts of 5 basis points on average, in line with a similar decline in the five-year Loan Prime Rate (LPR) in January, the group said in a report published on Monday.

The mortgage rate reductions by commercial lenders followed two rounds of cuts in the benchmark LPR by the central bank in December and January, aimed at shoring up slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

“Mortgage rates in Beijing and Shanghai fell for the first time month-on-month since mid-2020,” said Xu Xiaole, an analyst at the institute, adding that there was more room for cuts.

China’s four biggest banks lowered mortgage rates in the southern city of Guangzhou by 20 basis points on Monday, sources claimed on Monday.

Mortgage rates in smaller cities such as Hohhot, Zhongshan and Huizhou were cut by 30 basis points, according to the Beijing-based institute.

“This change of policy does not mean the government already gave up the long-term goal of ‘houses are for people to live in, not for speculation’,” said Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management.

“Once growth stabilises in the second half and the important government meeting ends in the fourth quarter, the priority will likely shift back to the long-term objective,” Zhang said.

The ruling Communist Party is set to hold its once-in-five-years congress late this year.

Since late 2021, authorities have taken a slew of measures to avert a hard landing for the property sector, including steps to support buyers such as newly married couples.

Last week, some banks started to require smaller down-payments in a handful of cities not constrained by regulatory restrictions on purchases.

In January, China’s new home prices rose for the first time since September on a monthly basis, official data showed on Monday, partly driven by improved demand in the biggest cities.

 

• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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