China lowers down payment requirement for second homes

Updated: 2014-10-01 14:19


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BEIJING - Chinese home buyers will face lower down payments on second homes as banks and regulators look to boost the sagging property market.

Chinese citizens who wish to buy a second home will enjoy the same 30 percent down payment required of first-time home buyers if they have fully repaid their mortgage loans, the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, and the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said in a joint-announcement Tuesday.

Prior to the announcement, second home buyers were required to place at least 60 percent down payment.

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The easing of down payments for second homes marks a turning point in the nation's restrictive home purchasing policies.

Several years ago, sky-rocketing home prices forced the government to roll out restrictive measures, such as requiring higher down payments and increasing the lending rate for second home purchases, as well as banning the purchase of a third home.

Tuesday's announcement did not specify when the new rule will take effect, but 0some cities, including Fuzhou, Hangzhou, and Nanjing have already started launching such measures.

The PBOC and the CBRC also said they will require their branches in local regions to outline supportive home loan measures based on local government requirements.

The nation's four big state-owned banks, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank, have all issued statements indicating stronger home loan support for both first home and second home buyers.

According to the announcement, first home buyers will have access to a maximum 30 percent discount on home loan rates offered by banks, while the minimum down payment remains at 30 percent.

In cities that have scrapped the ban for the purchase of a third home or those without such restrictive measure in place, for people in possession of at least two homes, without mortgage loans, and wishing to buy more, banks are free in deciding upon the down payment requirement as well as the loan rates based on borrowers' debt repayment capabilities and credit, according to the announcement.

A total of 46 Chinese cities had imposed bans on the purchase of a third home in efforts to curb speculation. Currently, only the five cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Sanya still keep the ban.

According to the announcement, migrants in the country will also have access to home loans from banks if they plan to settle down in a certain regions, on condition that they meet specific requirements of different regions.

Financial institutions will be encouraged to issue mortgage-backed securities and long-term specialized financial bonds to raise the capital that will facilitate home loans granting to both first-time home buyers and those who wish to buy bigger homes in order to improve their lifestyles, according to the announcement.

The new rule is believed to shore up a sluggish real estate market that had extended a cooling trend in August as more cities reported month-on-month price drops. Government data showed out of 70 major Chinese cities, new homes in 68 saw month-on-month price declines in August, compared with 64 in July.

Hangzhou, the provincial capital of Zhejiang, saw new home prices drop the most of the 70 cities surveyed, down by 2.1 percent from July. New home prices in Beijing and Shanghai dropped by 1.2 percent and 1.3 percent month on month, respectively, the data showed.