China’s property crash is prompting banks to offer mortgages to 70-year-olds

Hong Kong CNN  — 

The property market in China is so depressed that some banks are resorting to drastic measures, including allowing people to pay off mortgages until they are 95 years old.

Some banks in the cities of Nanning, Hangzhou, Ningbo and Beijing have extended the upper age limit on mortgages to between 80 and 95, according to a number of state media reports. That means people aged 70 can now take out loans with maturities of between 10 and 25 years.

China’s property market is in the midst of a historic downturn. New home prices had fallen for 16 straight months through December. Sales by the country’s top 100 developers last year were only 60% of 2021 levels.

Analysts say the new age limits, which aren’t yet official national policy, aim to breathe life into the country’s moribund property market while taking into consideration China’s rapidly aging population, said Yan Yuejin, a property analyst at E-House China Holdings, a real estate services firm, in a recent research note.

“Basically, it’s a policy tool to stimulate housing demand, as it can alleviate the debt payment burden and encourage home buying,” he added.

The new mortgage terms are like a “relay loan.” If the elderly borrower isn’t able to repay, his or her children must carry on with the mortgage, he said.

Last month, China reported that its population shrank in 2022 for the first time in more than 60 years, a new milestone in the country’s deepening demographic crisis with significant implications for its slowing economy. The number of people aged 60 or above increased to 280 million by the end of last year, or 19.8% of the population.

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