Yet approvals for primary market transactions and secondary market transactions grew by $1.2bn and $3.1bn.
New mortgage loans drawn down in May fell 1.4% to $26.5 billion, compared with April.
The Monetary Authority's residential mortgage survey for May found new loans approved during the month rose 14.8% to $31.6 billion.
In a Monetary Authiruty report, approvals for primary market transactions and secondary market transactions grew by $1.2 billion (27%) and $3.1 billion (17.9%) while those for refinancing fell by $200 million (4%). The number of new applications rose 15.6% to 17,084.
About 12% of the new mortgage loans approved were priced with reference to best lending rates, with the largest portion in the price range of 2% to less than 2.25%. The proportion of new mortgage loans priced with reference to HIBOR decreased to 87.2% from 89.8% in April.
The outstanding value of mortgage loans increased 1.3% to $780.1 billion. The mortgage delinquency ratio went down to 0.01% while the rescheduled loan ratio remained unchanged at 0.03%.
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