China property loans surge in Q3

BEIJING Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:58pm EDT

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BEIJING Oct 22 (Reuters) - Bank lending to China's real estate sector rebounded sharply in the third quarter helped by rising sales and investment, central bank data showed, the latest sign that house prices may be stabilising.

Chinese banks lent 416.8 billion yuan ($66.65 billion) to home buyers and property developers between July and September, up 29 percent from the previous three months.

Property loans accounted for 15.4 percent of total new loans issued in the first three quarters, up from 12.3 percent in the first half of this year, the central bank said in a statement on its website.

Outstanding mortgage loans at the end of September rose 12.6 percent from a year ago to 7.8 trillion yuan, while outstanding loans to property developers rose 12.1 percent to 2.96 trillion yuan.

The surge in property loans reinforces other data showing a mild recovery in home prices and sales, suggesting a government crackdown on speculation in the real estate market may be less strident than some think.

Worried that expensive house prices could anger ordinary Chinese, Beijing has tried to cool China's formerly red-hot property market by barring buyers from purchasing more than two homes.

That has lowered China's average home prices, which are falling compared to year-ago levels.

The data also showed loans for public housing construction totalled 130 billion yuan in the first nine months, accounting for 60 percent of all loans to developers.

On the other hand, outstanding loans for fixed-asset investment rose 10.9 percent at the end of September to 20.7 trillion yuan from a year ago, compared with a rise of 10.3 percent at the end of June.

To shore up a slowing economy, Beijing has fast-tracked infrastructure investment projects and local governments have also announced a series of investment plans, though providing few details on how they will be funded.

In marked contrast, mid- to long-term loans for manufacturers skidded 44 percent in the first three quarters from a year ago, compared with a fall of 42 percent in the first six months, the central bank said.

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