More banks to tighten home loans
More banks in Shanghai are joining the Bank of China in tightening the policy on a 30 percent discount on first home mortgages to curb risks.
They include China Construction Bank, China Everbright and Fujian-based Industrial Bank, sources said.
"The days of easy access to the 30 percent discount on mortgages have expired," said a source who declined to be named. "It's definite that it will be much more difficult to enjoy preferential rates in the future."
Previously, almost all first home mortgage applicants could enjoy the 30 percent rate discount and only needed to make a 20 percent down payment on first homes. But now only applicants with good credit history and who make a 40 percent down payment can avail themselves of the 30 percent discount, sources said.
But some lenders such as the Bank of Communications and Industrial and the Commercial Bank of China are still keeping their current mortgage policy of 30 percent discount and 20 percent down payment. But credit officers at the sub-branch level said more tightening moves are likely after the Spring Festival.
The Shanghai Bureau of the China Banking Regulatory Commission conducted a citywide test on individual mortgages and found that the bad loan ratio on these mortgages would rise to 1.28 percent, 2.6 times more than usual, if housing prices fall 10 percent in the city, the regulator said yesterday.
"The pressure test on individual mortgages is far from optimistic," the banking regulator said.
The ratio would rise to 1.51 percent if home prices fall 20 percent and further jump to 2.08 percent if home prices tumble 30 percent in the city.
"A tighter trend is inevitable," said a credit officer from a big five bank. "It's only about the timing."
Last year, new individual mortgages topped 107.1 billion yuan (US$15.7 billion) in Shanghai, up 98.2 billion yuan from a year earlier. People from outside the city, including expatriates, accounted for 35 percent of the new individual mortgages in 2009.
In Shanghai, prices of existing properties rose to 14,700 yuan per square meter on average in December, an annual surge of 41 percent while prices for new homes rose to an average of 20,187 yuan per square meter in December, up 65 percent from a year earlier.
The outstanding value of property loans grew 28.1 percent to 760.4 billion yuan by December 31. --(2/5)
155 Hotels Appointed
The World Expo organizer has appointed 155 hotels to take staff of participant countries, journalists, performers and volunteers.
The average price of budget hotels will be 276 yuan (US$40) per night and that of five-star hotels 1,252 yuan. Prices are decided according to average prices over the past three years, Huang Jianzhi, deputy director general of the Expo bureau, said.--(2/3)
No ads for world event's special taxis
The 4,000 taxis which will serve the World Expo site will not carry the names of their companies or be allowed to carry advertisements.
The cabs, painted white and carrying the World Expo logo and the image of the Expo mascot Haibao, will be identified by a number painted on their bumpers, according to a regulation released by local traffic and transport authorities.
A team, led by Shanghai Transport and Port Authority and the Expo organizer, will be set up to manage the cabs provided by the city's five major taxi companies.
The taxis will be able to enter a 7-square-kilometer controlled area of the Expo site. Other cabs will be banned from the area until after 9pm each day of the 184-day event.
All the taxis will have an English service with interpreters manning a hotline (962288) when the Expo opens in May.
The taxis, which will hit the roads next month, will mostly be Volkswagen Tourans, a step up from the Santanas in the current fleet.
About 350 will be Buick LaCrosse Hybrids.--(2/2)
Winter gloom will continue
Light rain will fall almost every day through Friday and temperatures will be between 0 and 8 degrees Celsius, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said yesterday.
The bureau said it will rain this morning but that it will end in the afternoon. The sun likely won't be seen until the weekend as drizzle and overcast skies are predicted for the next four days, forecasters said. The high will be 9 degrees today, but will drop to either 5 or 6 degrees tomorrow through Thursday. The lows will range between 1 and 3 degrees tomorrow to Thursday, and then rise to around 5 degrees on Friday, said the bureau. Bureau forecaster Li Jinyu said it will be damp for most of the week, which will make it feel colder than the actual temperature. Yesterday the high temperature reached around 10 degrees, the bureau said.--(2/1)