The People’s Bank of China promised support for first-time homebuyers amid fears of a property slump caused by real estate speculation, Bloomberg reported. The government will increase support for affordable housing construction as well as ensure that “loan demand from first-home families” is met. Residential property prices in 52 of 70 major cities declined in December. “The government doesn’t want to see home transactions slide too fast — that may hurt economic growth,” said Lu Ting, a Hong Kong-based economist at Bank of America. The PBOC will continue with “differentiated” loan policies , including favorable downpayment ratios and mortgage rates for first-time buyers. “The PBOC is opening a small window for property and is starting selective easing on the sector,” said Yao Wei, an economist at Societe Generale.