The country's banking regulator has urged commercial banks to curb increased real estate lending. Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), called for significantly higher down-payment requirements for mortgages on expensive and luxury homes and investment properties, in order to rein in lending. He did not specify how large these down payments should be. Liu said banks should promote loans for first-time homebuyers but stop granting other types of loans. Property prices across 70 Chinese cities rose 5.5% in the first quarter as compared to the same period in 2005. China reported US$2.575 trillion in loans by the end of Q1, up 14.7% from 2005.
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