China's Q3 property loans fall 23% in another sign of market slowdown

BEIJING (Reuters) - Banks' lending to China's property sector fell 23.3 per cent in the third quarter from the previous three months, Reuters calculations from central bank data showed on Tuesday, another sign of cooling momentum in the housing market.

Chinese banks lent 570 billion yuan (S$118.50 billion) to home buyers and property developers between July and September this year, easing from the second quarter's 743 billion yuan and down 5 per cent from a year ago.

Reduced demand for property loans reflects sluggish sales as developers struggled with high inventories and banks became more cautious about lending to developers and investors.

For the first nine months, total property loans issued hit 2.1 trillion yuan, up 213 billion yuan from a year ago, the central bank said on its website, Outstanding mortgages by the end of September were up 17.5 per cent from a year ago, but down a shade from end June's 18.4 perc ent rise, it said.

Official data last week showed China's average home prices fell in September, the fifth consecutive monthly fall, raising expectations the government will have to implement more economic support measures to cushion the blow.

To stop property prices from sliding further, the government cut mortgage rates and downpayment levels last month for some home buyers, taking one of its biggest steps this year to boost an economy increasingly threatened by a sagging housing market.

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