Pan Asian Mortgage, Hong Kong's only mortgage refinancing firm targeting homeowners with negative equity, hopes to expand its customer base by more than threefold over the next two years amid the rising number of households trapped in negative equity, according to chief executive Leland Sun Li-hsun. He said Pan Asian, taking advantage of Hong Kong Mortgage Corp's (HKMC) termination of the 140 per cent refinancing scheme for negative-equity owners in April, would adopt a more aggressive approach in building its presence. Pan Asian estimated there were 120,000 households trapped in negative equity, 40,000 of them still paying above the prime rate and quality borrowers. 'We will be satisfied if we can attract 10 per cent of this group of quality borrowers,' Mr Sun said. The firm has secured 1,200 clients in its first year of operation, compared with 321 applications received by HKMC's scheme under which 26 banks offer up to 140 per cent refinancing for negative-equity owners. Last month, Pan Asian's SuperFirst Negative Equity Mortgage Refinancing Programme raised the refinancing loan ceiling to $12 million, compared with a previous cap of $8 million. It also expanded to include owner-occupied flats bought under the name of shell companies. Mr Sun said the average loan size for its 1,200 clients was $1.8 million, above the overall mortgage loan size of $1.1 million. '[The loan size] is sensible as our customers bought their properties at higher prices.' Mr Sun said the rising number of negative-equity owners meant a large group of people would be unable to trade up for bigger apartments. This would have a negative impact on property transactions. In response, Pan Asian's programme allows the affected households to upgrade to larger units without paying up the entire outstanding loan. It required clients to pay only the difference between the new and the existing mortgage loans, Mr Sun said.