Best Home Loan Refinancing 2019

Refinancing your home loan can save you thousands of dollars over its tenure. We've analysed current interest rate data in order to help you find compare rates and find the best refinancing option.

Table of Contents

Best Home Loan Refinancing for HDB Flats

Approximately 4 out of 5 Singaporeans live in HDB flats, making these homes the most popular by far. Furthermore, refinancing is very common among individuals with mortgages on their HDB homes. In Singapore, borrowers typically refinance every few years, which makes it important to keep up to date with the best home loan refinance rates and obtain an affordable lender.

Best Home Loan Refinancing with Fixed Rates for HDB Homeowners

We have found that the best fixed rate refinance rates offered by banks in Singapore tend to be about 10% to 15% cheaper than the average fixed rate refinance loan. Therefore, by choosing one of the cheapest refinance rates from the list below can save you up to S$30,000 compared to the average fixed rate home loan refinancing. Calculations below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
CITI TrackerS$2,1222.01%2 years
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CITI TrackerS$2,1342.06%2 years
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CITI TrackerS$2,1342.06%2 years
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CITI TrackerS$2,1462.11%2 years
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SBI FixedS$2,2312.45%2 years
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
CITI Tracker2.01%2 years
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CITI Tracker2.06%2 years
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CITI Tracker2.06%2 years
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CITI Tracker2.11%2 years
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SBI Fixed2.45%2 years
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In addition to choosing a loan with a low rate, it is also essential to consider how much the loan you each month in terms of monthly instalments. Similarly, it is important to consider whether you'd like the flexibility to refinance your loan sooner rather than later. To compare these options, you should keep an eye out for "lock-in" periods, which dictate the length of the period in which you are unable to renegotiate the terms of your loan. For example, some banks will let you refinance after just one year, while other banks will have lock-in periods of up to 3 years.

Best Floating Rate Home Loan Refinancing for HDB Flats

While fixed rate refinancing gives borrowers the ability to secure a given interest rate for a set period of time, borrowers can also choose to refinance their home loan with a floating rate loan, which charges interest rates based on reference rates that continuously change over time. Examples of these reference rates include SIBOR, SOR, a combination of SIBOR and SOR, or board rates determined by banks. These board rates often have different names for their own rates, such as SPFR, FDR, or FHR. On the other hand, SIBOR and SOR pegged rates, tend to give the option to choose from 1-Month to 12-Months s SIBOR or SOR rates.

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

$
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The best floating rate home loan refinancing products, which are listed below, tend to be about 10% to 15% lower than the average of floating rate home loans according to our research. Therefore, choosing one of the cheapest options from our table below can save up to S$30,000 compared to some of the average offerings available in Singapore. Calculations below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
SCB BoardS$2,1312.05%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$2,1222.01%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$2,1342.06%2 years
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SCB BoardS$2,1442.10%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$2,1392.08%2 years
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
SCB Board2.05%2 years
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SCB Tracker2.01%2 years
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SCB Tracker2.06%2 years
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SCB Board2.10%2 years
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SCB Tracker2.08%2 years
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Best Home Loan Refinancing for Private Properties

While private residences are less common than HDB flats in Singapore, these condos and landed properties can easily cost several millions of dollars, requiring many private homeowners to resort to home loans. Below, we explain various private home loan refinancing options available in Singapore, and highlight the most affordable refinancing loans.

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

$
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Best Fixed Rate Home Loan Refinancing for Private Residences

Our review of the best fixed rate home loan refinancing for private homes indicates that the cheapest rates, offered by the banks in the table below, are typically 5% to 10% lowers than the market average. By choosing one of the cheapest home loan refinancing options can save you up to S$30,000 in total interest cost compared to the average refinancing option. Our calculations below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
CITI TrackerS$2,1222.01%2 years
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CITI TrackerS$2,1342.06%2 years
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CITI TrackerS$2,1342.06%2 years
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CITI TrackerS$2,1462.11%2 years
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SBI FixedS$2,2312.45%2 years
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
CITI Tracker0.25%2 years
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CITI Tracker0.30%2 years
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CITI Tracker0.30%2 years
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CITI Tracker0.35%2 years
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SBI Fixed2.45%2 years
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When choosing fixed rate loan refinancing, it is important to minimise your total interest cost while also being able to ensure that you can afford to pay your monthly installment every month. It is also helpful to consider the flexibility of each loan, as some loans offer shorter lock-in periods that can allow you to refinance your loan again more quickly, which can sometimes reduce your total interest cost or monthly instalments. Typically, fixed rate home loans include a fixed interest rate for 2 to 3 years, after which interest rates change based on reference rates such as SIBOR or SOR. This means you'll have the opportunity to refinance again after the lock-in period ends.

Best Floating Rate Home Loan Refinancing for Private Residences

While fixed rate refinancing allows borrowers to choose a refinancing option with a set interest rate, floating rate refinancing features interest rates that continuously change of time. Banks typically charge floating interest rates based on SIBOR or SOR and these rates continuously move over time, hence the name "floating." Typically, prospective borrowers can choose from SIBOR or SOR rates ranging from 1 to 12 months. When comparing various interest rate types, it helps to consider what your expectations for interest rate movement. For example, in general, it makes sense to go with a long-term rate in a rising rate environment; in a declining to flat environment, go with a short-term rate. The calculations in the table below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
SCB BoardS$2,1312.05%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$2,1222.01%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$2,1342.06%2 years
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SCB BoardS$2,1442.10%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$2,1392.08%2 years
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
SCB Board2.05%2 years
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SCB Tracker2.01%2 years
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SCB Tracker2.06%2 years
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SCB Board2.10%2 years
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SCB Tracker2.08%2 years
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Our analysis indicates that the banks with the best floating rate home loan refinancing options for private residences charge interest rates that are approximately 10% to 15% cheaper than the market average. Therefore, by choosing one of the cheaper options from our list, you can you save as much as S$30,000 compared to refinancing with some of the other lenders in the country.

Best Refinancing for Jumbo-Size Home Loans

Jumbo-sized home loans, which are very large mortgages, help individuals purchase very expensive homes. Many banks in Singapore actually offer special rates for jumbo loans, typically these lenders offer better interest rates for loans of at least S$1,000,000 to S$2,000,000. The table below lists the best refinancing options for jumbo-size home loans. It is important to note that our calculations assume a loan of S$2,000,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
SCB BoardS$8,4772.00%2 years
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SCB BoardS$8,5262.05%2 years
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SCB BoardS$8,5262.05%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$8,4872.01%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$8,5362.06%2 years
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
SCB Board1.03%2 years
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SCB Board1.08%2 years
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SCB Board1.08%2 years
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SCB Tracker0.25%2 years
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SCB Tracker0.30%2 years
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According to our analysis, the banks with the lowest refinancing rates for large mortgage loans had rates that are 10% to 15% lower than the market average. Given this difference in rates, and the sheer size of these loans, the best refinancing options can offer very significant savings, of as much as S$50,000 to S$100,000, over the course of the loan tenure compared to offerings from other lenders.

How to Choose the Best Home Loan Refinancing

Home loans can be a daunting financial products for consumers. While they appear to be straightforward, these loans are actually quite complex. Not only do home loan interest rates change frequently, the cheapest loan type can also change depending on trends in the lending market. Additionally, home loans typically require 10 to 20 documents as part of the application, which further complicates the process. Due to these complexities, we recommend that you consult a mortgage broker when shopping for a home loan. With that said, we encourage you to do your own research in order to find the most affordable home loan refinancing possible.

Why Should You Consider Refinancing Your Home Loan?

According to our research, most homeowners in Singapore refinance their home loans very frequently; about once every 2 to 4 years. While this trend may be influenced by a decline in interest rates in recent years, home loan refinancing can be a great tool for any homeowner. When applying to refinance your home loan, lenders will often enquire about the your current loan's interest rate, and try to quote you a lower rate in order to win or maintain your business. This can work out well for homeowners who can refinance their current home loan and reduce their monthly installment and total cost of borrowing.

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

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Choosing a Home Loan: Interest Expense & Refinancing Cost

Prospective homeowners are typically most concerned with interest rates when comparing home loans and home loan refinancing. This is logical because interest rates dictate the majority of a home loan's cost. Additionally, because the credit criteria that banks use to approve a home loan application are nearly identical, your credit score is not a significant factor that influences borrowers' decisions to choosing one bank over another, which allows borrowers to focus on interest rates.

Comparing average interest rates of home loans in Singapore by property type, categorized by floating rate and fixed rate
Average Interest Rates of Home Loans as of May 2018

Aside from interest rates, borrowers should be aware of each loan's flexibility in terms of renegotiating terms and refinancing. This is important to Singaporeans, as most homeowners in Singapore refinance their home loans every 2 to 4 years. For this reason, it is important to keep an eye out for restrictions and fees such lock-in periods, legal fees, valuation fees and fire insurance premiums, which can reduce your savings from refinancing.

For instance, consider a home loan of S$500,000. By refinancing from 2.0% annually to 1.5% per year, you can save S$2,500 per year. However, legal fees in Singapore can cost about S$2,500, while valuation fees can range from S$500 to S$1,000. Additionally, some lenders charge an additional fee to borrowers that refinance during their loan's lock-in period. For this reason, it is important that your bank offers subsidies for your legal fees. Some banks even provide their in-house valuer for free, which can save you another S$1,000. Below is a list of fees associated with home loan refinancing, as well as banks that provide subsidies for these fees.

Various Fees Involved in Refinancing

Miscellaneous Fees In RefinancingCostBanks That Provide Subsidies
Legal FeeS$2,500DBS, POSB, Citi, UOB, Maybank, OCBC, SCB, RHB
Valuation feeS$500-S$1,000SBI, HLF
Fire InsuranceS$120/annumSBI
Partial/Full Redemption Fees1.5%Many do not charge for BUC
Cancellation Fees1.5%Only 1% @ SBI
Pricing Reset Date Penalty0.5%-1.5% of amount prepaid*Charged by Citi and Maybank

How to Choose Between Fixed & Floating Rates

One of the most difficult questions to answer when trying to refinance your home loan is whether to choose a fixed or floating rate loan. Both loans are valuable depending on the context of your loan and interest rates in the country. When trying to decide whether you should refinance with a fixed or floating rate, it is important to understand how rates will behave during the next 2 to 4 years (the years of a lock-in period) and how that impacts your total cost of borrowing. It is not necessary to consider a much longer time horizon because you can always refinance your loan after your lock-in period concludes. Below, we discuss a few possible scenarios that you must consider, and whether fixed or floating rate is more preferable depending on the context of each situations.

When Rates are Flat or Declining: Floating Rate

If interest rates are relatively stable or declining, it is generally prudent to refinance your home loan with a floating interest rate. Floating rates tend to be lower than fixed rates because banks are willing to offer a lower rate in the short-term, in order to obtain your business and charge you higher rates once market interest rates increase. On the other hand, fixed rates tend to be slightly higher as banks charge a premium for loans with set rates In our table below, we illustrate the difference between average floating rates and average fixed rates for new home loans as of May 2018.

Property TypeAverage of Fixed RateAverage of Floating Rate
HDB1.96%1.87%
Private1.92%1.89%

When Interest Rates are Rising: Fixed Rates

When overall interest rates are rising, it is generally advisable to refinance with a fixed rate than a floating rate. Although fixed rates are typically a bit higher than floating rates, they provide borrowers an opportunity to save if market rates rise significantly. For example, imagine that you are able to refinance at a fixed rate of 1.5% for the next three years or the option of refinancing at a floating rate beginning at 1%. If market interest rates rise soon after you refinance the floating rate could end up being 2% to 3%, while the fixed rate would remain at 1.5%. While these may not seem very significant, the difference could actually result a difference of S$5,000 in annual interest.

Methodology

We conducted our review based on data available online and from our home loan broker partner. We reviewed home loan products from the lenders below. We examined loan data that would be most relevant to potential borrowers including interest rates, lock-in periods, fees, and subsidies.

Bank of ChinaCIMB
CitibankDBS
Hong Leong FinanceHSBC
MaybankOCBC
RHBSBI Singapore
Standard CharteredSing Investment
Singapura FinanceUOB
William Hofmann

William is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion Singapore, focusing on banking and SMEs. He previously was an Economic Consultant at Industrial Economics Inc.

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