A new report from Chinese fintech giant Ant Financial points to structural concerns with regard to household debt in China, yet lower-than-expected leverage ratios.
The “China Household Finance Survey – China Resident Leverage Ratio and Household Consumer Loan Issue Research Report (中国家庭金融调查专题——中国居民杠杆率和家庭消费信贷问题研究) indicates that nearly 60% of Chinese household debt is comprised of home loans.
According to the report during the period from 2013 to 2018 residential property loans hit a peak of 55.6% of all household debt, as an increasing number of Chinese pursued their home ownership ambitions.
The report further points out that during the period from 2017 to 2018, the share of loans made to existing homeowners as a share of all residential property loans rose from 62.9% to 65.9%, greatly exceeding the share of first home loans.
The report was prepared by the Chinese Household Finance Survey and Research Center at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (西南财经大学中国家庭金融调查与研究中心) in cooperation with the Ant Financial Group Research Institute (蚂蚁金服集团研究院).
The report maintains that Chinese household debt risk is “controllable overall,” with household debt accounting for a 49.2% share of China’s GDP, as compared to a figure of 77.1% for the US.
In 2019 only 13.7% of Chinese households had made consumer loans of any kind, while the Chinese loan participation rate was just 28.7%, as compared to 78.0% for the US.