New home loan approvals in Hong Kong rose 28.4 per cent in May, the sixth consecutive month of growth, as developers stepped up apartment sales and lenders lowered mortgage rates. New approvals increased to HK$28.1 billion last month after rising 31 per cent in April, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said yesterday. Approvals for new flats jumped 48.1 per cent, or HK$2.1 billion, while those for existing homes increased 22.6 per cent or HK$3.6 billion, it said. Sharmaine Lau, an analyst at mReferral Mortgage Brokerage, said the strong growth was due to developers' active sales policies and falling mortgage rates at banks. About 53 per cent of the new mortgages approved last month were priced at more than 2.5 percentage points below the prime lending rate. New mortgage drawdowns rose 42.5 per cent to HK$15.2 billion, the HKMA said. The mortgage figures were released after a rally in Hong Kong and mainland property stocks yesterday. Shares in Sino Land rose 6.24 per cent to HK$13.28, while Sun Hung Kai Properties and Cheung Kong (Holdings) gained 4.99 per cent to HK$96.75 and 2.83 per cent to HK$90.85, respectively. Hong Kong-listed mainland property stocks also extended their gains as analysts upgraded their targets on the back of a recovering market. Coastal Greenland led the rally with a 12.31 per cent surge to close at 73 HK cents, followed by Shui On Land's 9.33 per cent gain at HK5.39. HSBC Holdings said Shui On, which has exposure to large cities, was likely to benefit from improving home sales in Shanghai and its own financial structure. The bank has an overweight rating on Shui On in its first-time coverage and set the target price at HK$6.50. Shimao Property Holdings also rose 6.66 per cent to HK$14.74 after upgrades by several analysts. Goldman Sachs raised its target on Shimao from HK$16.07 to HK$16.85 due to increased earnings estimate, underpinned by the higher than expected selling prices in the recent sales of Beijing's Sanlitun office complex and the better than expected selling progress of Fuzhou Shimao Skyscrapers.