In Singapore, there are numerous options when it comes to purchasing your home. You can opt for a private residential property, an executive condominium or a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat. If you do not have the necessary funds to purchase your own home, you can always approach banks and get a home or mortgage loan.
Home loans are one of the highest-value loans offered by banks in Singapore. These loans often come with a tenure of over 25 years.
Home loans can be of various types: for example, there are loans that you can use to build a house, purchase an under-construction flat, purchase an HDB flat, or renovate your existing house.
*According to the bank’s affordability calculator. Please check with the bank for clarity.
**According to Citi’s Mortgage Calculator. Please check with the bank for clarity.
In Singapore, you will find the following types of home loans:
This type of loan is offered by various commercial banks and other financial institutions in Singapore to customers who want to purchase a residential property.
There are various factors that affect your home loan package based on whether your property is under construction or whether it has already been completed, location, type of property, among others.
With a term loan or a home equity loan, you can use the equity of your house/property as collateral. You can opt for this type of loan if you wish to borrow a large sum of money at a low interest rate.
However, this type of loan may not be easily accessible, and you will have to fulfil numerous conditions to get the approval. This is an ideal way to borrow money if the value of your property has increased substantially.
If you wish to own an HDB flat, you can opt for the HDB loan offered by banks or the Housing and Development Board. This type of loan is specifically meant for the purchase of an HDB flat that is built and maintained by the board.
These come with flexible tenures and low interest rates. For example, POSB HDB home loan has an interest rate of 1.45% p.a. plus FDHR8 (Fixed Deposit Home Rate) which is pegged to eight-months Singapore dollar fixed deposit interest rate of DBS.
As the name suggests, a bridging loan is a short-term loan that some banks offer so that people purchasing a new home can get funds quickly as they wait for receipt of the proceeds from the sale of their existing home.
Such loans are expensive, as the risks involved for banks are a lot more than conventional loans. Banks often demand collateral such as a real estate property - to reduce the risk.
This type of loan can be taken if you want to renovate or repair your home. These loans can be used for anything such as adding an extra room, building a swimming pool, repair work, and more.
DBS/POSB offers a flat interest rate of 2.31% p.a. for a renovation loan. This type of loan works just like any other home loan as the eligibility criteria and repayment methods are the same.
When you apply for a new home loan to pay off your existing home loan, it is called home loan refinancing. When you opt for refinancing, you are just transferring your loan to another bank. You can opt for refinancing if you want to switch to a better package.
For example, if you are paying a higher rate of interest in comparison to what is being currently offered in the market, you can opt for home loan refinancing.
An overseas property loan or international property loan is meant for Singapore citizens, foreign nationals and Permanent Residents living in Singapore, to purchase property outside Singapore. For example, OCBC offers people loans to purchase property in London, Tokyo, and New York. Not all banks in Singapore offer this type of loan.
In Singapore, banks offer home loans with the following types of interest rates:
Singaporean banks offer home loans with various kinds of interest rates. The key of these are:
Each bank has its own set of interest rate packages that it determines based on demand, economic situation and its operating costs. The interest rates vary depending on the type of home loan and the interest rate variant you choose. Factors such as tenure of the loan, price of the property, your repayment monthly income and credit score, also play an important part in the determination of interest rates for your home loan package.
Before you apply for a home loan, you must fulfil all the eligibility criteria set by the banks and financial institutions to ensure that your loan is approved. The eligibility parameters for HDB loans and bank loans are different. Let us look at these criteria in detail:
Eligibility criteria for HDB loans:
You should not have any other source of income if you own a commercial property.
Eligibility criteria for bank loans:
There are some banks in Singapore that offer home loans for foreign citizens and expats as well, though most banks are more enthusiastic about giving housing finance to Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents. UOB and OCBC are among the banks that offer home loans to foreigners.
The table below lists the key highlights of the top home loans in Singapore:
|Product||Loan amount||Interest rate||Loan tenure||Other benefits|
|Maybank Home Loan||Contact the bank for details||Starting from 1.28% p.a.||5 to 35 years||Higher interest rate on the Maybank SaveUp Account|
|Citibank New Home Purchase Financing||S$100,000 to 80% of the cost||Starting from 1.46% p.a.||5 to 35 years||Bonus interest on the Citibank InterestPlus Savings Account|
|UOB Property Loan||S$300,000 to 80% of the cost||Starting from 1.58% p.a.||5 to 35 years||Easy access to a Bridging Loan|
|DBS Private Property Loan||S$200,000 to 80% of the cost||Starting from 1.65% p.a.||5 to 30 years||Earn extra interest on saving account balance under DBS Multiplier Programme|
|OCBC New Home Loan||S$200,000 to 80% of the cost||Starting from 1.75% p.a.||5 to 35 years||Option to choose from 3 interest rate packages|
If you are among the regular office-going Singaporeans with an average annual income of not more than S$80,000, then you will surely have to opt for a home loan to purchase your own house in Singapore. However, when you opt for a home loan there are some major benefits that you can take advantage of. Here are some key benefits of a home loan:
The interest rate in this package is determined by the average of both SIBOR and SOR. When SOR starts to rise, the SIBOR restrains it, since you are using the average of the two. In contrast, if SOR plummets, it drags the average of the two down, causing you to pay less.
However, banks often try to discourage people from opting for a shorter tenure as their earnings are based on the interest amount which will naturally be more with a longer loan tenure. But you must decide on the tenure based on your requirements and payment capacity.
However, your decision should not be only based on these promotional deals, but how the overall package that suits your requirements.
Purchasing your own house is one of the major life decisions that you will have to make, and you must not take a decision in haste. As transactions involved in purchasing a house are huge and elaborate, you must take into consideration some essential factors before finalising your loan. Here is a list of things that you must consider:
Before you decide on applying for a home loan, there are some eligibility criteria that you must fulfil. The criteria are almost the same for all banks such as a minimum income criterion, maximum loan tenure and minimum age criterion.
If you want to apply for an HDB loan, there is a maximum monthly income criterion. If you fail to fulfil the eligibility criteria for an HDB loan, you may have to consider other alternatives.
The interest rates applied with an HDB loan will always be different from taking a loan from a bank. For example, the interest rate for an HDB loan is pegged to the prevailing Central Provident Fund Ordinary Account interest rate.
This rate is quite stable, and it generally sustains for a longer period. In contrast, bank loans are often pegged to a fixed deposit interest rate that may help you save more in the long run
You will have to choose the benchmark interest rates. The popular ones include SIBOR and SOR as mentioned above. You have the option of picking a 3-month, 6-month or 12-month rate. Often, the longer-term rates are steadier in comparison to shorter ones. There are banks that offer an extra advantage to consumers by offering a loan pegged to their fixed deposit rate.
The tenure of your loan is based on the loan amount and the down payment made. With longer tenure, the monthly repayment amount will be small. However, with shorter tenures, you will have to pay more in monthly instalments and the interest rate applied may also be high. So, you will have to choose the tenure based on your requirements.
In addition to the interest rates applied, you will also have to focus on the various conditions that banks normally apply, so that you avoid facing any hurdles if you wish to refinance your loan in the future.
Some of these conditions include the lock-in period linked to your current home loan. If you opt for loan refinancing within the lock-in period, you will be liable to pay a pre-payment penalty.
If you have your kids and parents living with you and more than 50% of the loan repayment is borne by you, it is advisable to apply for a mortgage insurance plan or Mortgage Reducing Term Assurance (MRTA).
With this insurance, you will get cover for the unsettled loan amount if you are permanently disabled or in case of death. With a mortgage insurance policy, your family need not worry after an ill-fated incident.
If you have any intention of refinancing your home loan, you must check with the bank if you will be charged any fee before you apply. There are a few banks that will not allow you to opt for a home loan refinancing if your loan amount goes below S$100,000. So, before you apply, make sure you ask if there is a minimum loan amount requirement.
As per the latest Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) regulations, most banks in Singapore use the same ratios when computing the loan amount for your new property.
All your declared debts that include personal loans, car loans, credit card debt, business loans, and your credit history will be taken into consideration to find out the loan amount for which you are eligible.
One of the biggest dilemmas in going for a home loan is to decide whether you should take an HDB loan or a bank loan. Of course, if you are buying a private property, there is no room for confusion because you can only get a bank loan for private properties.
But if you are buying an HDB flat – new or resale – you need to decide which lender you would prefer. To make this decision easy for you, we are listing the advantages and disadvantages of HDB and Bank loans:
The table below shows the advantages and disadvantages of taking an HDB loan:
|HDB loans are supported by the government and have lenient terms.||You cannot get an HDB loan if your income per month is over S$6,000 (for individuals), S$12,000 (for families), or S$18,000 (for extended families).|
|You may be able to defer your payments for a few months if you become unemployed or if you are facing a financial setback.||You can get an HDB loan only if you are a Singapore citizen. Permanent residents and foreigners are not eligible to apply for this.|
|Your down payment could be as low as 10% of the cost of the house.||You cannot get an HDB loan if you already own a house or you own more than one commercial property.|
|There is no pre-payment fee for partial or full prepayments.||You cannot get an HDB loan if you have sold a private property in the last 30 months before applying.|
|The monthly repayment amount will remain steady as the interest rates continue to be stable for years.||The maximum tenure with an HDB loan is 25 years.|
|You can take only up to two HDB loans at a time.|
|You can only purchase an HDB house with this loan.|
The table below shows the advantages and disadvantages of taking a bank loan:
|You can get tenures of up to 35 years, depending on the down payment and the loan amount. You can buy HDB house, private houses, executive condominiums or even construct your own house with a bank loan.||The loan terms are more stringent than those of an HDB loan. You must make down payments of at least 20% of the market value of the house.|
|Based on your income and debt level, you can take as many bank loans as you can afford.||There might be a lock-in period during which you cannot change the terms, transfer your loan to another bank, make pre-payments, or terminate your loan.|
|Banks would be able to offer you more varieties of interest options and better rates.||Most banks charge a prepayment fee if you make partial or full payments before the end of the loan tenure.|
|Late payment fee is charged every month – up to S$50 per instance if you are late with your monthly instalments.|
|The monthly instalments would change often if you go for a variable or floating rate loan. Even fixed rate loans can revert to floating rates after 2-5 years.|
Based on what you are looking for from a home loan, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both HDB and bank loans before deciding. If you do not want to take any risk, go for an HDB loan. If you are willing to experiment and take moderate risks, or if you want a non-HDB property, go for a bank loan.
Getting a home loan is not as easy as getting a personal loan as the loan amount is the biggest of all, the documents required and the procedures to be followed are more. You must first find the right house for yourself, bargain to get a price that you can afford to pay or apply for a loan. Subsequently, you will have to find a lender whose home loan packages suit you the best. Once that is done, the following procedures need to be followed:
You must obtain an IPA before you assess the property you intend to purchase. The IPA will be valid only for a month. You could try applying for a loan directly without an IPA, but you may not get a loan or low interest rates if you do not have an IPA.
You need to fill in the application form in full without withholding or fabricating any information. Along with the duly filled and signed application form, you must attach all the necessary documents.
You can use the funds in your Central Provident Fund (CPF) account to purchase a house. You can make use of CPF housing schemes to pay for your home loan or new house. You can pay the down payment using your CPF savings and link the monthly instalments of your home loan – whether from a bank or from HDB – to your Ordinary Account (OA).
By doing so, you will retain a major portion of your CPF savings for retirement and own a house at the same time. It is also prudent to not use up all your CPF savings towards the purchase of your home. Here is how you can make use of your CPF savings to purchase a residential property in Singapore:
As part of this scheme, CPF members can use funds in their OA to pay for a new or resale HDB house. You can use OA savings for any of the following purposes:
You cannot use the Public Housing Scheme if you are buying an HDB flat with a remaining lease of less than 30 years or if your age plus the remaining lease on the house is less than 80 years. There is a limit on how much money you can withdraw from OA to fund your house purchase.
If you are taking a bank loan, the withdrawal limit is 120% of the valuation limit – that is, the purchase price or the price you paid for the HDB flat when purchasing, whichever is lower. If you are taking a new HDB loan, you can use your CPF savings until the loan is repaid completely.
If you are below 55 years of age and are taking an HDB loan, you must first set aside the Basic Retirement Sum in your Special Account (SA) and OA. There are further terms and conditions about using CPF savings to buy an HDB flat. You can check with your lender and the CPF office for further details.
You can use your savings under this plan for any of these purposes:
Other terms are same as those of purchasing an HDB flat. Consult your lender and the CPF office for further information.
According to figures released by MAS, in the third quarter of 2018, Singaporeans utilised S$155,925.9 million in outstanding home loans for owner-occupied property. On investment property, loan utilisation was at S$41,121.4 million. The utilised loan amount for outstanding bridging loans was at S$27.2 million.
The limits granted - that is, the maximum loan amount a customer is allowed - for new housing loans under the owner-occupied category stood at S$8,019.3 million. Limits for new loans for those who bought properties for investment was at S$2,183.5 million in Q3 2018. New bridging loan limits worth S$68.3 million were also granted.
The average LTV ratio - which means the average amount borrowed against the total cost of the property - during the period was 50.9%. This means that the average amount of down-payment people paid was 49.1%.
Only around 0.4% of housing/bridging loans in Q3 2018 were reported as NPLs (Non-Performing Loans). This is the number of loans that aren't repaid, are defaulted on, or haven't been recovered by the lender.
|Bank||Home loan product|
|Bank of China||Housing Loan|
|CIMB||CIMB HDB Home Loan|
|CIMB Private Property Loan|
|CIMB Commercial Property Loan|
|CIMB London Property Loan|
|CIMB Australia Property Loan|
|CIMB Malaysia Property Loan|
|Citibank||New home purchase loan|
|Refinance your mortgage|
|Loan for Additions & Alterations or Reconstruction|
|DBS||Buying Your Private Property|
|Refinancing Private Property Loan|
|Buying or Refinancing Your HDB Flat|
|POSB||Buying Your HDB Flat|
|Refinancing Your HDB Loan|
|Buying or Refinancing Your Private Property|
|HSBC||Buy a new property|
|Refinance my home loan|
|Buy a property for commercial use|
|Get home equity loan|
|Maybank||Home Loans (Private property and HDB flat loans)|
|Commercial & Industrial Property Loan|
|Overseas Property Loan|
|OCBC Bank||Home Loan (New Purchase)|
|Home Loan (Refinancing)|
|Overseas Property Loan|
|Standard Chartered Bank||Home Suite|
|HDB Home Suite|
|HDB Bridging Loan|
|Commercial and Industrial Property Loans|
|UOB||Private Home Loan|
|Home Construction Loan|
|HDB Home Loan|
|Commercial Property Loan|
|International Property Loan|
|Home Loan for Foreigners|
|Home Loan Refinancing|
|Property Equity Financing|
Q. How do I use my CPF savings when I am taking an HDB home loan?
A. If you are opting for an HDB home loan, you can keep aside your savings in the CPF Ordinary Account to pay conveyance fee, stamp fee, and registration fee and the premium for CPF Home Protection Insurance. You can only retain an amount of up to S$20,000 in your CPF Ordinary Account while the rest must be used to buy or to pay for the HDB loan.
Q. In general, how much amount do I have to pay as down payment when I take a property loan?
A. Most banks require you to pay at least 25% of the purchase price as down payment when you apply for a home loan.
Q. What is Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR)?
A. Total Debt Servicing Ratio is a standard that computes the proportion of your income that can be used to pay for your home loan. Currently, the TDSR for banks in Singapore is fixed at 60%. In other words, all your repayment obligations including car loans, credit card debts, car loans and others cannot be more than 70% of your income.
Q. Can a foreigner apply for an HDB home loan?
A. A foreign national cannot get an HDB loan, but he/she can be a co-buyer if at least one other buyer is a citizen of Singapore.
Q. What is the penalty for early repayment and settlement?
A. Most banks in Singapore will typically charge about 1.5% of the amount borrowed if you repay your loan early.
Q. What is an LTV (Loan-to-value) limit?
A. LTV limit is the loan amount you can borrow with respect to its market value or purchase price (whichever is lower). The maximum limit varies based on property type, number of existing home loans you have at present and your age.
Q. What is the LTV limit for home loan refinancing?
A. The LTV limit for home loan refinancing remains at 80% of the outstanding amount, only if you have no other home loan.
Q. What is a Mortgage Servicing Ratio?
A. If you are looking to purchase an executive condominium or a resale HDB flat, you will have to take into consideration Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR). This ratio limits your loan repayments to 30% of your gross income per month.
Q. Who all are eligible for a home equity loan?
A. In Singapore, people who own private property are eligible to apply for home equity loans. So, if your only property in Singapore is an HDB flat, you will not be eligible for a home equity loan.
Q. What is the maximum loan tenure offered with home loans in Singapore?
The maximum tenure offered on bank home loans is 35 years. However, you should not be over 75 years at the end of the tenure.
DBS Research Group released a report, which stated that the Singapore residential market is expected to exhibit a weakness in price and volume this year. The buyers have stopped purchasing houses due to the execution of the property cooling measures and the new ‘minimum size’ rules introduced last year.
The new cooling measures have created uncertainty in the Singapore housing market and lowered invertors’ interest in the property market. The ‘minimum size’ rule added to this uncertainty. The buyers and investors have developed a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude before purchasing a house.
Another reason behind the slow market is the revision of the loan-to-value and the additional buyer stamp duty (ABSD) in July 2018. This has significantly increased the cost of owning a house which the report believes will majorly affect foreigners and investors.
The report further states that there are approximately 40,000 units in the market, ready to be launched. But, the chances of achieving strong sales during launches are low. But the developers believe that the displaced collective sales or en-bloc buyers will boost the sales in 2019. However, the impact will be visible from 2H19. After receiving the proceeds from the collective sales, home owners might look for a replacement house this year.
11 January 2019