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Surging housing costs have fueled political tensions. The rise in real estate prices was driven in part by a large amount of government stimulus spending and bank lending pumped into the economy after the 2008 crisis.

On Thursday, China’s central bank cut the interest rate on one-year loans by 0.31 percentage points to 6 percent. It said banks will be allowed to offer discounts to borrowers of up to 30 percent below that benchmark, an increase from the 20 percent discount previously allowed.

In an unusual step, the central bank also called on banks to control mortgage lending. That suggested authorities are worried about a possible resurgence in real estate speculation as they try to stimulate industrial activity and job creation.