BEIJING – China will allow certain cities to cut their mortgage rates below the central government’s minimum, making permanent a previously temporary move to curb a persistent slump in the housing market.

The move comes as an economic slowdown leaves potential homebuyers uncertain about their future income, lowering expectations for price growth in a crucial sector of the economy. On top of this, few people are willing to venture into condo showrooms amid the surge in coronavirus infections brought on by the end of China’s zero-COVID policy.