Tue, Sep 25, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Bank home loans show big decline

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

New housing loans from five leading banks nationwide last month reached their lowest levels since February, as many home buyers rushed to complete real-estate transactions in July to avoid the government’s new price-registration policy, the central bank said yesterday.

However, the average interest rate of new house-purchasing loans from the five leading banks reached 1.903 percent last month, the highest level since January 2009, an indication the government has been continuing to cool down the speculations in the house market, central bank data showed.

The banks — Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行), Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫銀行), Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行), Hua Nan Commercial Bank (華南商業銀行) and First Commercial Bank (第一銀行) — made NT$45.78 billion (US$1.55 billion) in new housing loans last month, the central bank said in its monthly statement.

The NT$45.78 billion in loans was NT$9.95 billion lower than the NT$55.73 billion posted in June, the bank said.

“Many people rushed to finish their real-estate transactions before Aug. 1 to avoid registration for real-estate transaction prices,” Chen E-dawn (陳一端), deputy head of the bank’s economic research department, told a press conference.

The government launched registration of real-estate transaction prices on Aug. 1, a move it views as a first step in enhancing transparency in the real-estate market.

Chen said the move made housing loans in July higher than normal case, while those for last month were much lower.

In a bid to cool down property speculation, the government also asked local lenders not to pursue high housing loans by further lowering their interest rates, Chen said.

This made the average interest rate of new house-purchasing loans from five leading banks rise to 1.903 percent last month, from the 1.892 percent that was recorded in July, the central bank’s data showed.

Chen said the number of building permits issued by the government dropped 2.33 percent from a year ago in the first seven months of the year, reflecting a slowing property market.

The annual growth of construction loans also showed the downturn trend for last month, central bank data showed.

Loans for construction grew 8.68 percent to NT$1.484 trillion last month from a month earlier, lower than the 10.06 percent rise recorded in July, statistics showed.

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