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Chinese household debt has risen at an “alarming” pace as property values have soared, analysts have said, raising the danger that the real estate property downturn could ruin the world’s second largest economy.

Loose credit and changing habits have rapidly transformed the country’s famously loan-averse consumers into enthusiastic borrowers.

Rocketing real-estate prices in 民間二胎 lately have witnessed families’ wealth surge.

‘This is just the start’: China’s passion for foreign property

But at the same time they have fuelled a historic boom in mortgage lending, as buyers race to obtain on the property ladder, or invest to cash in on the phenomenon.

The debt owed by households inside the world’s second largest economy has surged from 28% of GDP to over 40% in the past five-years.

“The notion that Chinese people will not want to borrow is clearly outdated,” said Chen Long of Gavekal Dragonomics.

The share of household loans to overall lending hit 67.5% inside the third quarter of 2016, over twice the share of the year before.

But this surge has raised fears a sharp drop in property prices would cause many new loans to go bad, creating a domino effect on rates, exchange rates and commodity prices that “could turn into a global macro event”, ANZ analysts said inside a note.

While China’s household debt ratio continues to be under advanced countries for example the US (nearly 80% of GDP) and Japan (more than 60%), it offers already exceeded those of emerging markets Brazil and India, and if it keeps growing at its current pace will hit 70% of GDP in a short time. Still it has some approach to take before it outstrips Australia, however, which contains the world’s most indebted households at 125% of GDP.

The ruling Communist party has set a target of 6.5-7% economic growth for 2017, and also the country is on course hitting it thanks partly to some property frenzy in major cities as well as a flood of easy credit.

But keeping loans flowing at this sort of pace creates such “substantial risks” that it could be a “self-defeating strategy”, Chen said.

China’s total debt – including housing, financial and government sector debt – hit 168.48 trillion yuan ($25 trillion) after just last year, comparable to 249% of national GDP, in accordance with estimates by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think tank.

China is wanting to restructure its economy to produce the spending power of its nearly 1.4 billion people an integral driver for growth, instead of massive government investment and cheap exports.

However the transition is proving painful as growth rates spend time at 25-year lows and key indicators continue to can be found in below par, weighing on the global outlook.

Authorities “desperate” to maintain GDP growth steady have turned into consumers like a source of finance because “many of the resources for capital from the banks and corporations are essentially used up”, Andrew Collier of Orient Capital Research told AFP.

People have looked to pawn shops, peer-to-peer networks and other informal lenders to borrow cash against assets including cars, art or housing, he said, to pay it on consumption.

Banks may also be driving the phenomenon, Andrew Polk of Medley Global Advisors told AFP.

“Banks have been pushing individuals to buy houses because they must make loans,” he stated, as corporate borrowing has dried up.

Put together with a surge in peer-to-peer lending, with well over 550 billion yuan borrowed from the third quarter of 2016, the hazards of speculative investment have risen, S&P Global Ratings said.

Some analysts debate that China is well positioned to deal with these risks, and has plenty of room to use on more leverage as families still save double the amount because they borrow, 99dexqpky some 58 trillion yuan in household deposits, in accordance with Oxford Economics.

“From a general perspective, household debt remains in a safe range,” Li Feng, assistant director in the Survey and Research Center for China Household Finance in Chengdu, told AFP, adding that risks within the next 3 to 5 years were modest.

But Collier stated that credit-fuelled spending was a “risky game”, because when 房屋二胎 flows slow, property prices will probably collapse, especially in China’s smaller cities.

That may lead to defaults among property developers, small banks, as well as some townships.

“That would be the beginning of any crisis,” he stated. “How big this becomes is unclear but it’s will be a challenging time for China.”