Beijing reports slowest mortgage growth in 5 yrs

BEIJING, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Beijing reported the slowest growth in the outstanding mortgage loans in five years as government curbs helped to cool down the property market.

The city's outstanding mortgage loans increased 9.6 billion yuan (1.4 billion U.S. dollars) in the first half of the year, compared with 103.2 billion yuan in the same period last year, according to the Operations Office (Beijing) of the People's Bank of China, or the central bank.

The outstanding mortgage loans by the end of June rose 4.6 percent year on year, the slowest growth in five years and 28 percentage points lower than the same period last year, the operations office said.

Meanwhile, banks extended more loans for public housing development as the city government seeks to build more public housing to offer more affordable homes for city dwellers.

Outstanding loans for real estate development grew 40.8 billion yuan in the first half, 67 percent of which went to public housing development, the agency said.

Apart from offering more public housing, authorities in Beijing also rolled out other measures, including stricter purchasing limits and higher down payment and mortgage rates, to curb real estate speculation.