GUANGZHOU is expanding its mortgage facilities for flat buyers with the scheduled release in October of new rulings designed to boost the development of the real estate market. The regulations will be introduced to coincide with the opening of the city's real estate trade centre, according to Li Weijie, director of the Guangzhou Lands Bureau. 'Some banks in Hong Kong are already giving mortgages. But we need to expand on this,' he said. 'Mortgages for 'commodity' flats are needed. This will follow the Construction Bank of China giving mortgages to low-cost housing.' Commodity flats did not come under the low-cost category. Mr Li said two banks were interested in giving the mortgages, which could increase property transaction volumes in Guangzhou. Low-cost housing accounted for about 40 per cent of the city's residential market, while commodity flats made up the remainer. Mr Li said that restrictions for pre-sale flats would be relaxed. Developers must now have completed 60 per cent of the payments for a plot before they are issued with land-use certificates and the right to pre-sell. Payment has to be made in two phases, with developers paying 30 per cent for the first instalment. Mr Li said that under the new regulations, developers would have to pay less than 60 per cent before gaining the right to sell. Payment would be extended to three phases, with provision being made for a first instalment of less than 30 per cent. Transfer of property rights, however, would be restricted. 'Property rights cannot be transferred by real estate agencies or property developers,' he said. 'The procedures have to be completed in the trade centre.'