China Construction Bank, the nation's biggest mortgage lender, has increased the down payment on first home to 40 percent in east China's Zhejiang Province, above the minimum 30 percent regulatory requirement.
The bank has also increased the interest rate for first homes in Zhejiang to 10 percent more than the benchmark rate set by the People's Bank of China, said an official with CCB's news department, who declined to be identified because of the lender's rules. These changes began on May 5, the official said yesterday.
Home prices in Hangzhou, capital of the province, rose 5.8 percent in April from a year earlier and 0.2 percent from March, according to Soufun, the nation's biggest real-estate website owner. Housing costs climbed 2.03 percent from a year earlier in Shanghai and 4.41 percent in Beijing.
Branches of CCB can adjust their mortgage policy in line with local market conditions as long as they comply with regulatory requirements, its Beijing headquarters said yesterday.
Although the Shanghai branch of the lender still keeps to the 30 percent down payment requirement, a credit officer indicated that home buyers may face interest rates higher than the benchmark.
Other banks, including Bank of Communications, may raise the down payment on first homes amid the government's tight monetary measures, sources said. BoCom, however, said its mortgage policy is unchanged from the regulatory requirement.
Dorothy Sit, vice chairwoman and chief executive of Hang Seng Bank China, said yesterday the bank's mortgage policy is stricter than the regulatory requirement.
China has ordered banks to impose a minimum down payment of 60 percent on second homes, with interest rates 1.1 times the benchmark rate. They are also banned from offering loans to buy third or more homes.
In February, most banks, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Bank of China, stopped offering discount on rates to first home buyers. Previously, banks could offer a maximum 30 percent discount for first home buyers but a 15 percent discount has been more common last year.