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DBS mortgage book shrinks for first time in years on cooling measures

DBS Group Holdings, the nation's largest home loan provider, saw its mortgage book shrink for the first time in years in the first quarter of 2019, chief executive Piyush Gupta said on Monday.

"The negative quarter was the first time in many, many years," Mr Gupta said during the bank's results announcement.

DBS total housing loans stood at S$74.4 billion at March 31, 2019, down from S$75 billion at end-2018. It was S$73.5 billion on March 31, 2018. The Singapore home loans contraction of "half a billion dollars" was due to last year's property cooling measures by the Singapore government, Mr Gupta said.

Booking of new home loans is soft and about half of what was booked from a year ago, he said. DBS is maintaining its home loan market share of 31 per cent.

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Mr Gupta still expects the 2019 mortgage book to grow as more projects are completed, but he tempered expectations for the increase to growth between S$1 billion and S$1.5 billion, down from an earlier estimate of growth between S$1.5 billion and S$2 billion.

Last year's home loan book grew just under S$2 billion, half the pace of the almost S$4 billion expansion in the previousĀ period, he said.