Shanghai real estate development loans decline

By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-24 06:49

SHANGHAI: Residential property development loans in the city have declined for three consecutive months, according to official figures released yesterday.

Overall lending for both residential and commercial properties grew by 7.3 percent in the first six months year-on-year, 2.9 percentage points down.

Analysts said the government's policy to cool down excessive speculation in the property market is showing positive results and banks, under government pressure, have tightened their lending to property developers.

In a statement released yesterday, the China Banking Regulatory Commission's Shanghai office said residential property loans declined by 3.15 billion yuan in the first half of this year, or a decline of 14.38 billion yuan year-on-year.

In the second quarter, lending to residential development showed a decline of 4.42 billion yuan. At the end of June, the outstanding commercial property loans at Shanghai's domestic banks stood at 486.07 billion yuan, up 17.6 billion yuan, but 9.74 billion yuan less than for the same period last year.

"The downtrend reflects the government's macro control policy is beginning to pay off and banks are adopting a tightening policy for lending," Kenny Ho, research head of Jones Lang LaSalle, a leading real estate agency, said.

The slower pace was attributed to China's banking watchdog's crackdown on lending money that was illegally used in stock market and for property speculation, he said.

The banking regulator said last month that it had punished eight bank branches for lending irregularities, following an investigation that began early this year.

Wu Weiliang, a professor with East China Normal University, said yesterday: "The government's strengthened control policies on the industry will make the housing market healthier."

The Shanghai regulator, in its statement, also expressed concern about the resurgence of speculation in housing, or homes not used by the owners. In June, loans to non-local residents, including foreigners, climbed by 9.7 percentage points compared to last year, accounting for 34.4 percent of the total loans.

The figures showed mortgage loans in June surged by 4.54 billion yuan, or an increase of 430 percent from a month earlier, reflecting the money flow from the stock market to property partly caused by fluctuations in the stock market.

(China Daily 07/24/2007 page3)

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