Best Home Loans for Private Properties 2019

Finding affordable financing to purchase a home can be a complicated process. We've analysed hundreds of home loans to help identify the best options depending on your preferences.

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

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Table of Contents

Best Housing Loans for Private Residences

Private homes represent about one-fifth of all homes in Singapore, and are very popular among foreigners and permanent residents, alike. These properties tend to be more expensive than HDB flats, which requires many home buyers to obtain a home loan in order to complete their purchase. Therefore, we've developed this guide to help prospective homeowners find the most competitive mortgages currently on the market.

Best Fixed Rate Home Loans for Private Properties

Our research and analysis indicates that the lenders below charge the lowest fixed rate home loans for private residences in Singapore. These banks' rates are typically 20% cheaper than the market average and can save borrowers up to S$30,000 over the course of their mortgage. Please note that the calculations in the table below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr. InterestLock-in Period
UOB FixedS$2,2132.38%2 years
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DBS FixedS$2,2132.38%2 years
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UOB FixedS$2,1932.30%2 years
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OCBC FixedS$2,2182.40%2 years
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UOB FixedS$2,2062.35%3 years
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BankCheck Rates1st Yr. InterestMonthly InstalmentLock-in Period
UOB Fixed
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S$2,2132.38%2 years
DBS Fixed
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S$2,2132.38%2 years
UOB Fixed
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S$2,1932.30%2 years
OCBC Fixed
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S$2,2182.40%2 years

Fixed rate loans can be a good option for individuals that prefer to have a level of certainty about their loan's cost for a few years, as they typically charge set interest rates for up to 3 to 5 years. Afterwards, the rates become "floating", meaning that they follow SIBOR, SOR or the lender's own reference rate. Following the fixed rate period, borrowers may choose to refinance their loan if they are able to obtain a cheaper interest rate from another lender.

Best Floating Rate Home Loans for Private Properties

In addition to fixed rate loans, prospective home buyers have the ability to choose mortgages with floating rates. The banks below offer the best floating rate loans for private residences. In fact, their rates tend to be about 25% cheaper than the average rate and can save borrowers about S$30,000 compared to the market average. Our calculations in the table below assume a $500,000 loan with a 25-year tenure.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr. InterestLock-in Period
SCB BoardS$2,1812.25%2 years
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UOB BoardS$2,1882.28%2 years
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SCB BoardS$2,1932.30%2 years
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SCB BoardS$2,1932.30%2 years
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CITI TrackerS$2,1402.09%2 years
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BankCheck RatesMonthly Instalment1st Yr. InterestLock-in Period
SCB Board
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S$2,1812.25%2 years
UOB Board
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S$2,1882.28%2 years
SCB Board
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S$2,1932.30%2 years
SCB Board
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S$2,1932.30%2 years
CITI Tracker
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S$2,1402.09%2 years

These loans have floating rates that change continuously based on either SIBOR, SOR or bank-determined reference rates. Typically, floating interest rates are lower than fixed rates, and can be a good choice for individuals that believe rates will decline in the next few years. However, they are usually less optimal for those that prefer some protection against rising market interest rates.

Best Jumbo Housing Loans

Individuals seeking to buy very expensive homes, such as landed-properties or a luxury condos, may require very large mortgages. Fortunately for these consumers, many banks have special offerings for loans of at least S$1 million. The lenders below charge the lowest rates for these "jumbo" mortgages, with rates that are up to 20% cheaper than the market average. Put in perspective, these loans can save borrowers up to S$500,000 in total interest costs and S$8,000 in monthly payments compared to other loans available on the market. Our calculations assume a S$2,000,000 loan of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr. InterestLock-in Period
SCB BoardS$8,6732.20%2 years
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SCB BoardS$8,7232.25%2 years
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SCB BoardS$8,7232.25%2 years
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UOB BoardS$8,7522.28%2 years
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SCB BoardS$8,7722.30%2 years
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BankCheck RatesMonthly Instalment1st Yr. InterestLock-in Period
SCB Board
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S$8,6732.20%2 years
SCB Board
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S$8,7232.25%2 years
SCB Board
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S$8,7232.25%2 years
UOB Board
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S$8,7522.28%2 years
SCB Board
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S$8,7722.30%2 years

Best Housing Loans for Private Properties Under Construction

The prospect of owning a brand new home is attractive to many individuals. However, these homes often cost significantly more, which often requires financing. According to our research the lenders below offer the cheapest home loans for properties under construction.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr. InterestLock-in Period
SCB BoardS$1,9112.25%0
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UOB BoardS$1,9192.28%2 years
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SCB BoardS$1,9242.30%0
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SCB BoardS$1,9242.30%0
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SCB BoardS$1,9372.35%0
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BankCheck RatesMonthly Instalment1st Yr. InterestLock-in Period
SCB Board
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S$1,9112.25%0
UOB Board
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S$1,9192.28%2 years
SCB Board
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S$1,9242.30%0
SCB Board
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S$1,9242.30%0
SCB Board
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S$1,9372.35%0
These banks typically charge rates that are 10-20% cheaper than the market average, which results in up to S$50,000 in interest cost savings. When calculating these figures, we assumed a a 30-year loan of S$500,000. Additionally, several of these banks offer loans without lock-in periods, making it easy to refinance after the property is completed. This is useful because some home loans for properties under construction increase their interest rates after the first few years.

Best Home Loan Refinancing for Private Residences

Refinancing one's housing loan can be a great way to save money. This is because banks often offer lower rates to borrowers with existing home loans in an attempt to win their business. For this reason, most Singaporeans refinance their mortgages every 2-4 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr. InterestLock-in Period
UOB BoardS$1,6412.28%2 years
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CITI TrackerS$1,6192.09%2 years
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SCB BoardS$1,6442.30%2 years
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SCB TrackerS$1,6362.24%2 years
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HSBC TrackerS$1,6482.34%2 years
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BankCheck RatesMonthly Instalment1st Yr. InterestLock-in Period
UOB Board
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S$1,6412.28%2 years
CITI Tracker
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S$1,6192.09%2 years
SCB Board
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S$1,6442.30%2 years
SCB Tracker
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S$1,6362.24%2 years
HSBC Tracker
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S$1,6482.34%2 years

The lenders listed in the table above offer the best refinancing options, with rates that are about 15% cheaper than the market average. Borrowers can save approximately S$35,000 in interest costs by refinancing with one of these loans, rather than the market average. Please note that our calculations assume a S$250,000 loan with a tenure of 15 years.

How to Get the Best Home Loan

While applying for a loan may seem relatively straightforward, applying for a home loan can actually be quite complicated. First, interest rates change much more frequently than those of other loan types. Additionally, the home loan application process requires submitting 10-20 documents. Due to this complex process, we strongly suggest consulting with a mortgage broker. With that said, it is still important to conduct thorough research about loan offerings. We've developed the following guide to help prospective borrowers get the most out of their broker and find the best financing possible.

How to Compare Housing Loans: Interest Expense & Refinancing Cost

In order to get the best home loan, it is important to understand a number of key factors. First and foremost, it is crucial to find a mortgage that minimises the total cost of borrowing (total interest cost). Additionally, it is important to choose a loan with an affordable monthly payment. To determine how much your loan will cost in terms of monthly payments and total interest costs, use our home loan comparison tool.

Other important factor to consider is a loan's flexibility. For example, home loans vary in terms of their lock-in period. A longer lock-in period makes it more difficult to refinance one's home loan. Those considering refinancing should also be aware of the associated fees. For example, even though refinancing can save borrowers thousands of dollars each year, legal and valuation fees can amount to several thousand dollars. Additionally, some banks will charge refinancing fees. These fees highlight the importance of finding a lender that minimises fees or even provides subsidies for legal and valuation fees.

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 Interest Rates vs Floating Interest Rates

A common question among prospective borrowers is whether to choose a fixed or floating rate home loan. It's impossible to give an absolute answer to this question. However, there are some general considerations to make when choosing between the two. Most importantly, it is crucial to understand how interest rates will change over the next few years. Generally, it is less important to consider a longer time horizon because refinancing is always an option.

Floating Rates: When Rates are Flat or Declining

Floating interest rate home loans are generally worth considering when overall interest rates are steady or declining. This is because floating rates tend to be slightly lower than fixed rates. The table below displays the average fixed and floating rates for home loans as of June 2019. Usually, borrowers can choose between floating rate loans that are based on 1 to 12-month interest rates. It is generally advisable to choose a long-term rate when rates are rising rate environment and a shorter-term rate when rates are declining.

Interest Rate TypeAverage Rate
Fixed Rate2.46%
Floating Rate2.30%

Fixed Rates: When Interest Rates are Rising

On the other hand, when interest rates are rising, or expected to rise imminently, it is usually worth considering fixed rate home loans. Although fixed rates tend to be slightly higher than floating rates on average, they also provide borrowers some security in terms of a set cost for up to 5 years. For example, if rates rise after a year into one's home loan, it may be cheaper to have selected the fixed rate loan compared to a floating rate loan that was initially less expensive, but becomes more expensive after rates increase.

What if My Home Loan Application Gets Denied?

If you home loan application is rejected, it is important to identify why you were denied financing. Some banks may provide this information, but in other situations, this burden falls on the consumer. Here are some common examples and tips for remedying them.

High Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR)

Borrowers are limited by the amount of loan payments they can make each month. The TDSR limit is based on one's monthly income and their debt obligations. The limit is 60%, which means that only 60% of one's monthly income can be used for monthly debt payments, including home loans, student loans, car loans and credit card debt payments.

To calculate one's maximum monthly home loan payment, it is necessary to multiply one's monthly income by 60% and subtracting other monthly debt payments. For example, if an individual earns S$8,000 per month and makes a S$600 student loan payment monthly the maximum monthly home loan payment you can afford under the TDSR limit is S$4,300 (S$8,000 * 60% = S$4,800, S$4,800 - S$500 - S$4,300).

For those that had their loan rejected because the home loan would have exceeded the TDSR limit, it may be necessary to apply for a smaller loan or a loan with a longer tenure, both of which would have smaller monthly payments. Also, it is always possible to wait until all other debts have been repaid.

Bad or Limited Credit History

Many individuals that have previously filed for bankruptcy or have poor repayment histories may have a hard time being approved for a large loan, such as a mortgage. There is no way to instantly fix one's credit history. However, after several years of making on-time payments it is often possible to prove to banks that your are credit-worthy. It also may make sense to re-apply for a smaller loan if your initial application was for a very large loan.

Methodology

To identify the top housing lenders, we analysed relevant data points available online and from our home loan broker partner. These data points included interest rates, lock-in periods, fees, and subsidies. Our review included home loan products from the lenders listed in the table below.

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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