Loans to the Chinese property sector accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2012 as the industry showed signs of recovering, according to official figures released Thursday.
Outstanding yuan-denominated lending from Chinese and foreign financial institutions to the property sector increased 12.8 percent year on year to 12.11 trillion yuan (1.93 trillion U.S. dollars) at the end of 2012, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, said in a statement.
The growth rate was 0.6 percentage points higher than that recorded at the end of the third quarter, the PBOC said.
Such loans rose 1.35 trillion yuan over the whole of 2012, accounting for 17.4 percent of the total annual increase of all borrowing, up 2 percentage points from the level of the first three quarters of the year.
Outstanding lending to low-income housing construction went up 46.6 percent year on year to 571.1 billion yuan at the end of 2012, growth that was 15.1 percentage points slower than a quarter earlier, the PBOC data showed.
China’s property market cooled after the government imposed control measures in 2010 but prices and sales have rebounded in recent months.
In December 2012, 54 of a statistical pool of 70 major Chinese cities, up from 53 in November, recorded higher new home prices than a month earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. This marked a third consecutive month of such increases.
The total area of new housing sold in 30 major cities in 2012 rose to 198 million square meters, up 34.1 percent from a year earlier, data from the Hong Kong-based real estate agency Centaline Group show.
Analysts attributed the rebound to discounts offered by developers, local governments’ fine-tuning of property regulation and consumers’ expectations for further price rises.