SHANGHAI, April 12 Chinese banks are offering
first-time home buyers discounts on mortgage-interest rates, in
a partial return to supportive measures in place before the
government instituted tough restrictions to cool its overheated
property market, state media reported on Thursday.
Both Chinese and foreign-invested banks in cities including
Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, are offering discounts of 10 to
15 percent off the benchmark mortgage rate to qualified buyers
who do not already own a home, the China Securities Journal
reported, citing an unnamed industry source and unnamed bank
The article did not specify if the shift is a response to a
specific policy change by Chinese authorities, who often use
informal "window guidance" to banks to guide lending practices.
Though the move does not signal a comprehensive lifting of
property restrictions that have pressured prices and hit
developers' profits since last year, it does indicate
flexibility by the government.
In particular, authorities appear keen to support first-time
home buyers, while clamping down on speculation.
The property sector accounted for 13 percent of China's
gross domestic product in 2011.
In response to soaring prices, Beijing has rolled out an
array of measures since late 2009 to rein in property
speculation and has won some success. House prices have fallen
from record highs.
But China's vows to keep its property curbs in place have
fuelled worries that they may further drag on an economy that is
already cooling and saddle banks with more bad loans.
(Reporting by Gabriel Wildau; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)