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Beijing Urging Banks to Expedite Real Estate Loans

Beijing officials are urging Chinese banks to speed up loan approvals for struggling property developers amidst a prolonged downturn in the real estate market. This is due to fears of an impending “Lehman moment” caused by the slump in home prices, which have been declining for eight consecutive months. Despite the drop in property values and decreased homebuyer sentiment, construction projects remain unfinished.

In an effort to boost sentiment and confidence in the real estate sector, Beijing has implemented a “whitelist” mechanism to support cash-strapped developers. This program, initiated last week, covers both state-backed construction companies and private developers in need of new financing totaling 1.5 trillion yuan. City governments can recommend residential property development projects to banks for financial support under this program. However, there are concerns that rushing loan approvals could lead to lower loan quality.

By expediting loan approvals for residential construction, authorities hope to revitalize the real estate market. Many Chinese banks have been hesitant to increase credit exposure to the struggling property market, limiting hopes for a rebound and capping economic growth. The weakening consumer sentiment and growth outlooks have also impacted loan demand and business operations for banks in China. It is expected that the majority of the top five state-backed lenders will report lower net income for the full-year 2023, reflecting the overall slowdown in the banking sector.

By Samantha Jones

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