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Chinese Rush to Repay Mortgages Gains Momentum in Abrupt U-Turn

People are cashing in investment products to pay off mortgages as economic uncertainty and Covid-19 outbreaks cause them to rethink their finances. 

Apartments in Shanghai.

Apartments in Shanghai.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China’s real estate crisis prompted home buyers across the nation to stop paying mortgages on thousands of stalled developments. Now, a separate group of Chinese property owners are rushing to prepay their home loans.

The movement to quickly pay off mortgages is an abrupt U-turn for many Chinese people, who used to go all out to borrow funds to buy houses during the real estate boom years. But as the property market slumps, the once sought-after leverage has turned into a burden that some people say they must trim — or even get rid of.