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Major banks loosen first-house mortgage rates

Updated: 2012-03-20 18:52


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Major Chinese banks have started to tune down mortgage rates for first houses from the benchmark lending rate after a year of hovering above it, China Business Network reported Tuesday.

Apart from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, big banks including Bank of China, Bank of Communications and China Construction Bank all agreed to offer a benefit of 5 to 10 percent discount on first-house loans under certain conditions.

However, almost no joint-stock bank has hinted at relaxing the rates, except Bank of Beijing, which allows a 5-percent discount for qualified borrowers.

Policy tune-ups and growing demand have combined to loosen first-house mortgage rates, said Huang Hetao, an analyst from Century 21 Real Estate, a US-based real estate services provider.

The government desires to impose differing first-house mortgage rates to remove the institutional barriers for first home purchases for people without the Beijing hukou, he said.

Liu Yuan, an analyst from Centaline Property, said it is unlikely the rates will drop any further from the benchmark lending rate since the credit environment does not seem to be relaxing.

However, another industry insider said there is more room for first-house mortgage rates to fall further because the Central Bank aims to stimulate the growth of bank credit.