China relaxes mortgage rules for second home buyers

China will relax mortgage rules for second-home buyers to shore up its cooling housing market, the central bank and the banking regulator said in a joint statement on Tuesday, taking one of the biggest steps this year to lift slackening economic growth.

With the changes, second-home buyers can now get a 30 percent discount on their mortgage rates, a privilege previously limited only to first-home buyers.

Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Downpayment levels would also be cut to 30 percent from 60 percent to 70 percent.

"For families that own one home and have paid off their mortgages, banks should treat them as first-home buyers," the regulators said in a statement on the central bank's website.