Mortgage lending figures from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority reflect the depressed state of the property market with 30 per cent fewer new loans made last month compared with the previous month. Analysts said mortgage growth would remain subdued in the next two months as uncertainties clouding the property market were unlikely to disappear. The authority said new loans approved by leading banks last month were $10.22 billion, down from $14.63 billion in March. After enjoying a short-lived rebound in March, Hong Kong's leading banks saw gross new mortgage loans down 18.6 per cent to $10.27 billion, according to the HKMA's survey of 33 financial institutions. Loans approved during the month but not yet drawn down decreased by 20.1 per cent from $8.05 billion in March to $6.44 billion last month. 'In view of the low level of undrawn lending commitments in April and the current market conditions, loan growth is expected to remain subdued in May,' the authority's deputy chief executive David Carse said. Indosuez WI Carr banking analyst Anthony Lok said the 30.1 per cent drop in new approvals mirrored the doldrums in the local property market last month. Mr Lok said the rate of decline in gross new loans was smaller than in new loans approved as the gross loans figures - including loans drawn down - reflected the market conditions in February and March. At the time the physical property market was not as bad as last month, he said. There is always a time-lag of one to two months between the dates when a property transaction is completed and when the financing for the deal is drawn down. Hong Kong Property Services (Agency) managing director Michael Choi Ngai-min said the decline in mortgage deals also indicated banks' reluctance to lend to the residential sector. The number of new loan approvals declined 16.3 per cent to 5,713 from 6,837, the HKMA said. Mr Choi said the drop was smaller than the fall in the value of approvals, probably indicating reduced loan sizes. He forecast loan growth could decline further this month. Although overall performance in June would not be exciting, next month's figure may be helped by primary sales by developers, who this month began an intense price cutting war, Mr Choi said. Sun Hung Kai Properties received a positive response to the launch of the remaining units in Mount Haven in Tsing Yi after it cut prices by 12 per cent to $3,750 per square foot. The discounted sale of Tierra Verde in Tsing Yi, owned jointly by Cheung Kong (Holdings), Hutchison Whampoa and Citic Pacific, is expected to be well received. Those deals could be shown in next month's loan figures, Mr Choi said. The amount of outstanding mortgage loans increased by 0.73 per cent last month to $43.92 billion, compared with 1.43 per cent growth in March.