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October 14, 2016

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Tighter scrutiny on housing loans

BANKS have been asked to stop issuing loans to property developers for land purchases, and to scrutinize individual borrowers who divorce too quickly in order to apply for mortgages, Shanghai Daily learnt from sources yesterday.

The crackdown comes as the city government attempts to further control the amount of loans going into the overheated local property market.

Housing developers should strictly comply with the rules and pay at least 30 percent down payment of a residential project instead of paying it partially and relying on borrowing more from banks, several commercial bankers told Shanghai Daily.

Some developers tended to pay only 10 percent of the project down payment and raise the rest of the money from banks and other gray channels, sources said.

In another internal filing of a Shanghai-based rural commercial bank seen by Shanghai Daily yesterday, banks in Shanghai have also started to verify the eligibility of mortgage borrowers.

Bank officials were asked to check the mortgage applications and single out borrowers who “divorced in three months” in order to get housing loans.

Banks have to reject the mortgage applications of these applicants who fall short of the three-month test because they fail to meet the eligibility to get the loans, sources said.

On Wednesday, the Shanghai Office of the China Banking Regulatory Commission held a meeting with “Big Five” lenders and other major commercial banks over the rising housing prices. The office reiterated that banks have to follow the latest of measures unveiled on March 25 to tame soaring prices.

The meeting and the follow-up tightening rules came after the central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan highlighted concerns about escalating home prices, and a rush of couples divorcing in cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Nanjing in order to get mortgages to help pay a relatively low down payment.

On October 7, Shanghai unveiled measures to rein in surging home prices.


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