New housing loans by the nation’s five leading banks hit their lowest level in five years in the first quarter, indicating that mid to long-term sentiment in the housing market remains weak, the central bank said yesterday.
The five banks — the 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$39.64 billion (US$1.33 billion) in new housing loans last month, up NT$13.93 billion from February, the central bank said in its monthly statement.
However, new loans by the five banks in the first three months reached just NT$110.6 billion, marking the lowest amount since 2008, the statement said.
“We have seen local banks becoming more cautious because of the risks associated with housing loans, resulting in slower growth,” Chen E-dawn (陳一端), deputy head of the bank’s economic research department, told a press conference.
The average interest rate on new housing loans by the five leading banks dropped to 1.948 percent last month from 1.969 percent in February — the biggest drop in more than four years, the statement showed.