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Housing loans extend drop in May but overall lending rises on business loans: MAS data

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The local property market has seen demand and sentiment tempered by the cooling measures put in place last July. There may be no respite soon as the central bank's chief said on Thursday that the curbs will not be lifted in the near future.

UNSURPRISINGLY, housing loans in Singapore shrank for the fifth straight month in May, as cooling measures introduced last July continued to work their way through the property market .

Preliminary data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released on Friday shows that mortgages booked in May stood at S$202.54 billion, 0.1 per cent and 0.3 per cent lower month-on-month and year-on-year respectively.

The local property market has seen demand and sentiment tempered by the cooling measures put in place last July. There may be no respite soon as the central bank's managing director Ravi Menon said on Thursday that the curbs will not be lifted in the near future, given that "there seems to be a good balance that is holding up the market in a good place".

He also said that the government will continue to monitor the property market closely, and stands ready to help ensure a healthy and sustainable market.

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On the back of weaker housing loans, total consumer lending also declined - 0.3 per cent month-on-month to S$263.83 billion. Among the segments that make up total consumer loans, only two categories - credit card loans and share financing to professional and private individuals - were higher.  Apart from housing loans (which make up about three-quarters of total consumer loans), car loans and other loans to professional and private individuals also retreated in May.

Auto loans were marginally lower at S$8.95 billion, compared to S$8.96 billion in April. Other loans to professional and private individuals saw a 1.6 per cent dip month-on-month to S$39.13 billion.

But total loans of S$681.8 billion increased 0.8 per cent from S$676.26 billion a month ago, and it was a bigger rise of 2.1 per cent year-on-year, thanks to business loans.

Total business loans rose 1.5 per cent month-on-month to S$417.97 billion, thanks to a 3.2 per cent rise in manufacturing loans to S$27.7 billion and a 4 per cent jump in general commerce loans to S$68.56 billion.