BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Loans to China's real estate sector expanded at a slower pace in 2017 amid tough purchase restrictions, central bank data showed Friday.
At the end of 2017, outstanding loans to the property sector stood at 32.2 trillion yuan (about 5 trillion U.S. dollars), up 20.9 percent year on year, according to a report from the People's Bank of China.
The growth was 6.1 percentage points slower than the expansion seen at the end of 2016.
Loans to the sector increased by 5.6 trillion yuan in 2017, 108.7 billion yuan less than the increase registered in 2016.
Outstanding loans for individual purchases stood at 21.9 trillion yuan by year end, up 22.2 percent year on year, slower than the 36.7-percent growth in 2016.
The moderation came after intensified government efforts last year to curb housing market speculation.
China's housing market had a red hot start to 2017 with soaring prices in some major cities, but ended on a cool note after local governments rolled out a string of restrictive measures echoing the central government's call that "housing is for living in, not for speculation."
About 110 cities and government agencies introduced more than 270 restrictions to tame the housing market, with Beijing implementing over 30 cooling policies, according to Centaline Property.
Latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that new residential home prices went down in December on a yearly basis in nine of the 15 major cities, considered the "hottest markets."
Friday's data also showed outstanding loans to small and micro businesses totaled 24.3 trillion yuan by the end of last year, accounting for 33 percent of overall business loans.