20 February 2019

Mortgage crunch getting serious in most key cities, paper says

Banks in 25 of 35 major cities have either stopped issuing mortgage loans or raised interest rates since March, Economic Information Daily reported Friday, citing a survey by Shanghai-based small-loan platform These include state-owned lenders.

Among those that have suspended lending are Ping An Bank (000001.CN), China Minsheng Banking Corp. Ltd. (01988.HK, 600016.CN), China Guangfa Bank Co. Ltd. and China CITIC Bank Corp. Ltd. (00998.HK, 601998.CN).

Those that continue to offer mortgage loans have raised interest rates equal to or higher than the benchmark rates set by the government. A preferential rate that carries a 15 percent discount to the base rate has all but disappeared, except for some banks in Beijing which continue to offer mortgage rates at 12 percent below the benchmark, the report said.

Changsha, Wuxi and Fuzhou have the highest proportion of banks that have halted mortgage loans at 26.7 percent, 25 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The ratio is 17.9 percent in Beijing.

In addition, banks are tightening the loan approval process, extending the waiting period to at least five months, a bank manager was quoted as saying.

Banks are also more selective, with priority given to applicants for a second mortgage at higher rates and those seeking larger amounts or earning higher wages.

Some experts expect the liquidity crunch to persist in the near term, exacerbating pressure on the housing market, the report said.

– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]



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