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More Chinese Homebuyers Refuse to Pay Mortgage Loans Amid Contagion Fears
Bank stocks fell on concern property crisis is spreading
Projects facing mortgage snubs more than tripled since Monday
A rapidly increasing number of disgruntled Chinese homebuyers are refusing to pay mortgages for unfinished construction projects, exacerbating the country’s real estate woes and stoking fears that the crisis will spread to the wider financial system.
Homebuyers have stopped mortgage payments on at least 100 projects in more than 50 cities as of Wednesday, according to researcher China Real Estate Information Corp. That’s up from 58 projects on Tuesday and only 28 on Monday, according to Jefferies Financial Group Inc. analysts including Shujin Chen.
“The names on the list doubled every day in the past three days,” Chen wrote in a note published Thursday. “The incident would dampen buyer sentiment, especially for presold products offered by private developers given the higher risk on delivery, and weigh on the gradual sales recovery.”
The delayed projects make up about 1% of China’s total mortgage balance, according to Jefferies. Should every buyer default, that would lead to a 388 billion yuan ($58 billion) increase in non-performing loans, Chen said. The report didn’t give any estimate for how many buyers are snubbing repayments.
Some major Chinese banks rushed to respond during trading hours on Thursday as the CSI 300 Banks Index fell as much as 3.3%. State-owned Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. said it held 660 million yuan of overdue loans on unfinished homes, while smaller rival Industrial Bank Co. said 1.6 billion yuan of mortgages were impacted, of which 384 million yuan have become delinquent. China Construction Bank Corp., the nation’s largest mortgage lender, said overall risks are controllable as its exposure to delayed projects is small.
The payment refusals underscore how the storm engulfing China’s property sector is now affecting hundreds of thousands of average citizens, posing a threat to social stability ahead of a Communist Party Congress later this year. Chinese banks already grappling with challenges from liquidity stress among developers now also have to brace for homebuyer defaults. A Bloomberg Intelligence index of Chinese developer stocks slid as much as 2.7%.
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The Money GPS is the most active, most informative channel in the financial world. Day after day, breaking down the data and making it easy to understand. This channel is not here to help build a portfolio, give stock picks, or financial advice. It’s simply data that is generally not found through conventional means.
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