The property market in Hong Kong is still growing at a rapid pace, which is causing fresh concerns for the sustainability of the market – especially for buyers who have purchased a new-build home with a high loan-to-value mortgage.
Buyers have been attracted to new-build homes as a result of a range of attractive incentives offered by Hong Kong developers. While bank loans in Hong Kong are subjected to limits imposed by the monetary authority, builder-arranged mortgages aren’t affected by the same restrictions, resulting in developers offering tax rebates and loan offers, usually made through finance subsidiaries.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has been urging banks to ensure that the finance companies that they do business with comply with regulatory mortgage limits.
“The accumulation of these high LTV mortgages may change the risk profiles of these property developers to which banks may have exposures,” Raymond Chan, executive director for banking supervision at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, said when questioned by Bloomberg. “The HKMA will continue to monitor the situation closely and consider whether there is a need for banks to strengthen their risk management in respect of their lending to property developers.”
The monetary authority does not currently have information on the overall size of loans issued by finance companies in Hong Kong. However it has been gathering information from banks on their exposure to the sector, and has found that the total amount of property-related loans provided by finance companies with relationships with the banks represents less than 1% of the outstanding residential mortgages of the banking sector in Hong Kong.
“While the information provided by banks reflects that the total amount of mortgages provided by property developers remains small as compared to the total amount of outstanding RMLs provided by banks, the growth rate of these mortgages is increasing,” the HKMA concluded.