Best Home Loans 2019

Choosing the right housing loan can have an enormous impact on your finances, so we've analysed hundreds of data points to help you find the best home mortgage loan in Singapore.

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

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Table of Contents

Best Housing Loans for HDB Flats

HDB flats were introduced to help improve housing affordability in Singapore and are very popular, representing about 80% of the housing market. However, HDB flats still cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, which means most people need to take out a home loan to finance their purchase. Below, we discuss different loan options for purchasing an HDB property.

Best Fixed Rate Home Loan for HDB Flats

We found that the best fixed rate home loans tend to be offered by banks listed in our table below, which charge interest rates that are around 15-20% lower than the average for fixed rate home loans. Therefore, choosing one of the cheaper options from the list below can save you up to S$30,000 compared to the average loan. Please note that our calculations below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in Period
MB FixedS$2,2892.68%2 years
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OCBC FixedS$2,2892.68%2 years
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UOB FixedS$2,2892.68%2 years
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DBS FixedS$2,2432.50%5 years
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SBI FixedS$2,2432.50%2 years
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BankCheck Rates1st Yr InterestMonthly InstalmentLock-in Period

MB Fixed
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2.68%S$2,2892 years

OCBC Fixed
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2.68%S$2,2892 years

UOB Fixed
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2.68%S$2,2892 years

DBS Fixed
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2.50%S$2,2435 years

When choosing a fixed rate loan, it's important to understand the required monthly payment and the loan's cost in terms of total interest. You should also be aware of the loan's flexibility as far as getting refinancing after a few years. For example, some home loans allow you to refinance after just 1 year, while others have a "lock-in" period during which you are unable to renegotiate your terms. Most fixed rate loans in Singapore have fixed interest rates for up to 3 to 5 years, after which interest rates become "floating".

Comparing total interest cost of home loans with fixed interest rates in Singapore for HDB flats
Total Interest Cost of Fixed Rate Home Loans as of January 2019

Best Floating Rate Home Loan for HDB

Alternatively, you can choose to get a floating rate home loan to finance your HDB flat. Floating rates are pegged to reference rates that continuously move over time. These reference rates are typically designated as SIBOR, SOR, a combination of SIBOR and SOR or another set of rates determined by banks (e.g. board or fixed deposit rates).

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in Period
SCB TrackerS$2,1512.13%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$2,1632.18%2 years
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SCB BoardS$2,1682.20%2 years
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UOB TrackerS$2,1752.23%1 year
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SCB TrackerS$2,1682.20%2 years
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BankCheck Rates1st Yr InterestMonthly InstalmentLock-in Period

MB Fixed
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2.68%S$2,2892 years

OCBC Fixed
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2.68%S$2,2892 years

UOB Fixed
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2.68%S$2,2892 years

DBS Fixed
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2.50%S$2,2435 years

We have found that the cheapest floating rate loans for HDB flats were offered by the lenders above, who charge interest rates that were 20-30% lower than the average of floating rate home loans. Therefore, choosing one of the cheaper options from the list below can help you save up to S$30,000 compared to some of the average loan. Please note that our calculations assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

Comparing total interest cost of home loans with floating interest rates in Singapore for HDB flats
Total Interest Cost of Floating Rate Home Loans as of January 2019

Best Home Loans for Private Properties

Private residences account for about 20% of homes in Singapore. These include condos as well as landed properties, and can easily cost millions of dollars. These private residences are quite popular among foreigners and permanent residents. Below, we discuss the best loan options available in Singapore for these homes.

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

$
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Best Fixed Rate Home Loan for Private Residences

We found that the best fixed rate home loans for private residences were offered by the banks below, who charge rates that are approximately 20% lower than the market average. Therefore, choosing one of the cheaper options from the list below can help you save up to S$30,000 over the course of your loan. Fixed rate loans in Singapore typically have fixed interest rates for up to 3-5 years, after which interest rates become "floating". Our calculations below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in Period
BOC FixedS$2,2432.50%2 years
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BOC FixedS$2,2812.65%3 years
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CITI FixedS$2,2562.55%2 years
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CITI FixedS$2,2682.60%3 years
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CITI FixedS$2,2632.58%2 years
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BankCheck Rates1st Yr InterestMonthly InstalmentLock-in Period
BOC Fixed
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S$2,2432.50%2 years
BOC Fixed
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S$2,2812.65%3 years
CITI Fixed
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S$2,2562.55%2 years
CITI Fixed
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S$2,2682.60%3 years

When choosing a fixed rate loan, you want to minimise the total interest cost while keeping your monthly installments manageable. You should also consider the flexibility of a loan in terms of getting a refinancing after a few years, as refinancing can help you reduce your monthly instalments. You can also apply for a home loan using our comparison calculator.

Best Floating Rate Home Loan for Private Residences

As opposed to a fixed rate, you can choose to get a floating rate home loan to fund your private property purchase. These rates are called "floating" as they are tied to reference rates (e.g. SIBOR and SOR) that continually move over time. Typically, you can choose from 1 to 12-month rates, and you should choose based on your expectations on how market rates will move. As a general rule, you should go with a long-term rate in a rising rate environment; in a declining to flat environment, go with a short-term rate.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in Period
SCB TrackerS$2,1512.13%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$2,1632.18%2 years
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SCB BoardS$2,1682.20%2 years
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UOB TrackerS$2,1752.23%1 year
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SCB TrackerS$2,1682.20%2 years
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BankCheck RatesMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in Period
SCB Tracker
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S$2,1512.13%2 years
SCB Tracker
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S$2,1632.18%2 years
SCB Board
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S$2,1682.20%2 years
UOB Tracker
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S$2,1752.23%1 year

We found that the lenders listed above offer the best floating rate home loans for private residences. Their interest rates were around 25% lower than the market average. Therefore, choosing one of the cheaper options from our list can help you save at least S$30,000 compared to other offerings available in the market. Please note that our calculations assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

Best Mortgage Loan Refinancing

Home loan refinancing can be a great tool for homeowners. In fact, most people in Singapore refinance their loans every 2 to 4 years. When refinancing your home loan, banks will often ask about the interest rate you are currently paying on your home loan, and quote you a rate lower than that to win or maintain your business. Therefore, refinancing can help you get lower interest rates and thus reduce your monthly instalment.

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

$
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We found that the best home loans for refinancing were offered by the banks listed in our table below. On average their rates were about 15% lower than the market average. For a loan of S$250,000 over 15 years, refinancing with one of these loans can save borrowers approximately S$35,000 in interest expenses alone. The calculations below assume a loan of S$250,000 with a tenure of 15 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in Period
SCB TrackerS$1,6292.18%2 years
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UOB TrackerS$1,6352.23%1 year
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SCB BoardS$1,6382.25%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$1,6382.25%2 years
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HSBC TrackerS$1,6412.28%2 years
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BankCheck RatesMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in Period
SCB Tracker
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S$1,6292.18%2 years
UOB Tracker
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S$1,6352.23%1 year
SCB Board
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S$1,6382.25%2 years
SCB Tracker
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S$1,6382.25%2 years

Best Jumbo-Size Home Loans

If you are looking to purchase a very expensive property, you may need to take out a jumbo home loan. Many banks in Singapore offer special rates for large loans of at least S$1,000,000. According to our analysis, the banks in our table provide the lowest rates for large mortgage loans for HDB homes and private residences, with rates up to 20% lower than the market average. Please note that the figures below assume a S$2,000,000 loan of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in Period
SCB TrackerS$8,6022.13%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$8,6512.18%2 years
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SCB BoardS$8,6732.20%2 years
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UOB TrackerS$8,7012.23%1 year
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SCB TrackerS$8,6732.20%2 years
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BankCheck RatesMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in Period
SCB Tracker
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S$8,6022.13%2 years
SCB Tracker
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S$8,6512.18%2 years
SCB Board
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S$8,6732.20%2 years
UOB Tracker
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S$8,7012.23%1 year

A loan of S$2,000,000 over 25 years translates to monthly payments of approximately S$8,000 and S$500,000 in total interest costs. Savings from choosing one of the best loans is also gigantic, with savings up to S$200,000 compared to some of the other offerings available in the market.

Best Home Loans for Properties Under Construction

If you are looking to purchase a new HDB flat or private property this is under construction, you can still take out a home loan. We found that the lenders below offer the best loans with interest rates 10-20% cheaper than the market average. Therefore, choosing one of the cheaper options from our list can help you save up to S$40,000-S$50,000 compared to offerings from other lenders. Please note that our calculations assume a 30-year loan of S$500,000.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in Period
SCB BoardS$1,8862.15%0
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SCB TrackerS$1,8802.13%0
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SCB BoardS$1,8992.20%0
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UOB TrackerS$1,9062.23%0
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SCB TrackerS$1,8992.20%0
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BankCheck RatesMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in Period
SCB Board
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S$1,8862.15%0
SCB Tracker
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S$1,8802.13%0
SCB Board
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S$1,8992.20%0
UOB Tracker
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S$1,9062.23%0

Some banks even offer loans for property under construction without lock-in periods, which comes in handy when your property construction is complete and you can obtain a lower interest rate. This is particularly important for this type of home loan because home loans for properties under construction typically charge low interest rates in the first 2-3 years, but in later years higher rates compared to normal home loans.

How to Choose the Best Home Loan

Home loans can be very complicated financial products for consumers. They may look simple on the surface; however, comparing these loans is actually quite complex. Not only are rates constantly changing, the most favorable type of home loan also varies depending on the market environment. Additionally, there are usually 10 to 20 documents that you need to complete when applying for a home loan. Due to these complexities, we highly recommend that you consult a mortgage broker when searching for a home loan.

However, this doesn't mean that you should blindly follow whatever a broker says. In fact, you can get even more value out of your broker if you are well-informed about home loans. To that end, we've prepared a short guide in order to address frequently asked questions about home financing in order to help to get the best home loan.

Choosing a Home Loan: Interest Expense & Refinancing Cost

According to our research, about 80% of home loan shopping decision process is dependent on the interest rate, which is logical because interest rates account for the vast majority of a home loan's cost. Not only that, the credit criteria that banks use to approve a home loan application are nearly identical, thereby eliminating your credit score as a significant factor that influences your decision of choosing one bank over another.

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 January 2019

Besides interest rates, home loan's can be compared based on flexibility in terms of allowing you to refinance at your convenience. According to our research, most Singaporeans refinance their home loans every 2 to 4 years, likely due to the fact that interest rates declined in recent years and people were eager to obtain better rates. This means that you have to watch out for restrictions and fees like lock-in periods, legal fees, valuation fees and fire insurance premiums, which could eat into your savings in interest.

For instance, consider a home loan of S$500,000. You can save about S$1,400 annually by switching from an interest rate of 3% to 2.5%. However, legal fees in Singapore can cost you about S$2,500, while valuation fees can be about S$500 to S$1,000. Some banks even charge you additional fee if you refinance your loan during lock-in or interest-resetting periods. Therefore, it's extremely important to find a bank that offers subsidies for legal fee or valuation fee subsidies. Below is a list of fees to be aware of, as well as banks that provide various subsidies.

Refinancing FeesCostBanks 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

Fixed Rate vs Floating Rate: Which Is Better?

One of the most difficult questions to answer when choosing a home loan is whether to choose a fixed rate loan or a floating rate loan. It's difficult to say that a fixed rate is always better than a floating rate, or vice versa. When considering this question, it is important to understand how rates will behave during the next 2 to 5 years (the years of a lock-in period) and how that impacts your overall cost. A longer time horizon is less relevant because you can easily refinance your loan after the end of the lock-in period.

When Rates are Flat or Declining: Floating Rate

When overall interest rates are stable or declining, it's generally advisable to choose a floating rate home loan. Floating interest rates tend to be lower than fixed rates because banks are willing to offer a lower rate for the opportunity to charge you higher rates later. A fixed rate, on the other hand, will guarantee a certain rate for the borrower for a long time, so banks charge a premium for these in low-rate environments. In the table below, we show the difference in average fixed and floating rates for home loans as of January 2019.

Property TypeAverage of Fixed RateAverage of Floating Rate
HDB2.48%2.16%
Private2.53%2.16%

When Interest Rates are Rising: Fixed Rates

When overall interest rates are rising, it's generally more advisable to take out a fixed rate home loan than a floating rate loan. Although fixed rates tend to be a bit higher than floating rates, they provide an opportunity to save future cost when market interest rates rise significantly.

For instance, consider a hypothetical scenario where you have the option of paying 1.5% fixed rate for the next 3 years and another option of paying a floating rate of 1% for now. Soon after you take out the loan, central banks all over the world decide to begin raising their interest rates. This means that, by the second year, you might end up paying 2% to 2.5% in floating rates while your fixed rate is still only 1.5%. A difference of 1% may not sound like a huge difference; however, when you are considering a loan of S$500,000, a difference of 1% can mean amount to S$5,000 in annual interest payments.

What to Do if Your Home Loan Application Gets Denied

The first step after having your home loan rejected is to determine why you were not offered financing. There are a number of reasons that your application may get denied. Once you assess why you were rejected, you can decide how to best proceed.

You Have a High Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR)

Individuals are limited in the amount that they can borrow based on their monthly income and other debt obligations. The TDSR limit is 60%, meaning that only 60% of your monthly income can be used to make monthly payments on your loan and other debt (e.g. car loans, education loans, credit card debt).

You can calculate your maximum monthly home loan payment by multiplying your monthly income by 60% and subtracting your other monthly debt obligations. For example, if you earn S$8,000 per month and pay S$500 per month for your car loan and your minimum credit card payment is S$100 per month the maximum monthly home loan payment you can afford under the TDSR limit is S$4,200 (S$8,000 * 60% = S$4,800, S$4,800 - S$500 - S$100 - S$4,200).

If your application gets rejected because your loan would have exceeded the TDSR limit, you have a few options. First, you can apply for a smaller loan or a loan with a longer tenure, and thus, smaller monthly payments. Additionally, while it may be disappointing, you can always consider a cheaper home or wait until you have repaid your other debts.

You Have a Bad or Limited Credit History

If you have filed for bankruptcy or have a history of making late payments, you may not be approved for a large loan, like a home loan. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for a bad credit history. It takes time to repair your credit history, so you may need to wait a few years before applying again. Alternatively, you can try applying for a smaller loan, which banks may be more willing to provide to you.

Similarly, younger loan applicants may be denied a home loan due to their limited credit history. If you fall into this category, you can build credit by consistently paying your bills and credit card payments on-time.

Methodology

We conducted our review based on information available online and data from our home loan broker partner. We reviewed home loan products from the companies 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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