(Repeats story from Nov. 14; no changes to text) * Recession, unemployment may weigh on borrowers repayment ability * Mortgage delinquency ratio in HK near historic lows of 0.02% * Banks plan to raise mortgage credit costs, reduce discounts * Hong Kong banking sector risks lowest among peers – S&P By Clare Jim and Sumeet Chatterjee HONG KONG, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Even as Hong Kong has reduced down-payment requirements to help young professionals and families to buy homes, banks are beefing up mortgage application standards to ensure that a recession does not saddle them with bad loans, bankers and mortgage brokers said. Last month, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, struggling to restore confidence in her administration after five months of civil unrest, approved rules allowing first-time homebuyers to borrow as much as 90% of a HK$8 million ($1 million) home’s cost. Earlier, such a high ratio was only permitted on properties worth half as much. The move increased sales of used homes. But as the protests take a heavy toll on the special administrative region’s economy, banks fear a deepening recession, unemployment and bankruptcies, which could make it hard for borrowers to pay them back, two bankers said…. Read full this story
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