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Thai central bank to relax mortgage lending rules

The Bank of Thailand will ease mortgage lending rules, effective Jan. 20, to encourage borrowing among home buyers, the Bangkok Post reported.

Under the revised rules, first-time buyers of homes worth less than 10 million baht will be allowed to borrow an extra 10%, said Ronadol Numnonda, the central bank's deputy governor. Meanwhile, second-time buyers of homes valued less than 10 million baht will be allowed to make a 10% down payment if the mortgage on their first homes has been paid off for at least two years, compared to the previous requirement of three years, Numnonda said.

All other home buyers will follow a 20% down payment requirement, according to the report.

The Thai central bank also said it is looking to trim interest rates, speed up tax rebates for small and medium-sized enterprises and allow insurance companies to invest overseas in an effort to boost liquidity and stabilize the local currency.

As of Jan. 17, US$1 was equivalent to 30.39 Thai baht.