Rising Interest Rates

The three-month compounded Singapore Overnight Rate Average (Sora) has increased from a rate of less than 0.2 percent per year at the beginning of the year to a rate of roughly 2.2 percent as of the value date of October 7, 2022. This indicates that interest rates are on the rise. The annual interest rate on a house loan with a variable rate that is now set at 1% + the three-month Sora will be around 3.2% as of right now.

Prices of resale properties sold by the Housing Development Board (HDB) and private residences in Singapore have shown remarkable resilience thus far. According to preliminary estimates provided by the Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the prices of HDB resale and private homes in the third quarter of 2022 are, respectively, 11.4% and 13.2% higher than they were in the same quarter of the previous year.

Increasing mortgage interest rates may not prevent purchasers who are flush with cash, but there is a cost associated with giving up other opportunities in order to purchase a property.

However, the majority of homebuyers get loans. It’s possible that the increases in interest rates experienced to thus far have been tolerable. However, the Federal Reserve of the United States, which has been working to raise interest rates, is indicating that there will be further rate rises.

If interest rates were to climb to 4 percent or more on an annual basis, it may be difficult for people to purchase homes. The monthly payment on a loan of $750,000 over a period of 25 years is estimated to be $3,365 if the annual interest rate is 2.5 percent, and it would be $3,959, an increase of 18 percent, if the interest rate was 4 percent. At the moment, DBS provides home loan packages with fixed interest rates; these packages allow borrowers to lock in an interest rate of 3.5 percent per year for a period of two to five years.


Home Loan Repayment Chart

Home Loan Repayment Chart


Limits on the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) and maximums on the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) and mortgage servicing ratio apply to lending by private financial institutions to homeowners (MSR). The total debt service ratio (TDSR) maximum for the amount of a borrower’s gross monthly income that may be put toward the repayment of monthly debt obligations, including the loan for which the borrower is applying, is 55%.

Buyers of HDB flats and executive condominium (EC) units, provided that the EC’s minimum occupancy term has not yet come to an end, are subject to the MSR ceiling of 30 percent on the gross monthly income that goes towards repaying all property loans, including the loan for which they are applying. When calculating TDSR and MSR for house loans, a rate ceiling of 4% per year is utilized for the interest rate on the loan.

Homebuyers have always been required to pay mortgage interest rates of more than 4 percent per year, as was the case when my wife and I purchased a house in the late 1990s. Perhaps we did not do a thorough enough risk assessment of the possibility that we might be unable to make payments on a somewhat costly mortgage that spans many years.

In this day and age, when constant upheaval means there is often no sight on job stability, it might be intimidating for young couples to sign a mortgage agreement for 25 or 30 years. In 2002, when I was still making payments on my mortgage, I was let off from my job. To our great good fortune, having a partner who worked helped to alleviate some of the stress associated with being able to make the required monthly installments. In addition to that, not long after that I was successful in finding a new employment.

My wife and I have both earned wage raises throughout the course of our marriage, and I have also used the few large bonuses that I have received to make principal payments on our mortgage. The whole of these factors contributed to the servicing of a house loan being more manageable.


When taking out a loan with an interest rate of 4%

Even if house loan rates hit 4% on an annual basis, it may still make financial sense to take out a loan for a longer term in order to purchase a property.

To begin, under the assumption that the yearly total return on an investment in real estate is more than 4%, financing the acquisition of that investment with a loan that has an annual interest rate of 4% may make financial sense. If a house has a capital gain of more than 2 percent per year and a net yield of 2 percent per year, then the yearly total return on the property will be more than 4 percent.

Second, a person who does not own a house may be responsible for the expenditures of renting a property. Rent payments might sometimes approach the amount that would be required to make the monthly payments on a mortgage. When someone buys a house, they take ownership of an asset that has the potential to grow in value over time. Additionally, contributions to a CPF account may be used to make payments on a mortgage, but not on a rent payment.

Thirdly, even if interest rates on house loans in our country reach 4 percent per year or more, it is possible that they will not remain at such high levels for an extended length of time. Should economies have rough patches, central banks have the ability to decrease interest rates. Greater rates of savings might, over the longer run, assist in holding down the level of interest rates that are prevalent in many regions where populations are becoming older.

In addition, the repayment of a loan may become less difficult over the course of its term if the financial situation of the borrower improves. However, it is important to keep an eye out for increased costs that may result, for instance, from providing care for children or the elderly.

It may make more sense financially for some individuals to choose to rent a house on a permanent basis as opposed to purchasing their own property. The funds that would have been used to finance the purchase of a house might instead be put to use in a lucrative company or other ventures that could potentially provide larger returns than homeownership.

Nevertheless, if they were not constrained by the need of making mortgage payments, some individuals would wind up spending more money on consumer goods and services that do not result in a return on investment.


Tightening of Borrowing Limits

During his address at this year’s National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong emphasized the potential for the future town in Paya Lebar to accommodate the construction of around 150,000 additional residences after the relocation of the Paya Lebar Air Base in the 2030s. Lee expressed the assurance that Singapore will not run out of room in the future and that housing would be available and inexpensive in the future. he also said that housing would be available.

It takes time to construct new residences in order to keep up with demand. Recent actions taken by the government to foster circumstances in the real estate market that are sustainable have focused on assuring responsible financing and reducing demand. The 30th of September, 2022 marked the beginning of the implementation of measures that would influence borrowing. These measures included increasing the interest rate floors used to calculate TDSR and MSR, as well as the acceptable loan amount for housing loans given by HDB. The loan-to-value ratio (LTV) for HDB housing loans was cut from the former level of 85 percent to the current level of 80 percent.

When it comes to signing multi-year mortgages, first-time buyers need to exercise particular caution since interest rates on house loans are rising and the economy is showing signs of worsening. In spite of this, the capacity to save money and save up enables young folks realize their dreams of becoming homeowners. A young adult who does not get financial support from his or her parents may need to take out a sizable mortgage loan in order to move up the timing of the purchase of a house in which he or she will make memories. We can only hope that there won’t be any more restrictions placed on first-time homeowners’ access to credit.