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Mortgages for Expats in Singapore

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: November 2014

As Singapore is one of the world’s major financial centres, there is no shortage of commercial banks; in fact there are more than 100 of them in the state. This means there are plenty of mortgage packages on offer, so it is worth taking the time to shop around to find a good deal. A mortgage broker or financial consultant should be able to help you do this. Note that the availability of mortgages partly depends on the legal status of the property involved.

 

Requirements

Your ability to pay is taken into consideration when you apply for a mortgage in Singapore. This is most clearly demonstrated in the requirement for a certain debt-to-income ratio. The proposed mortgage plus any other debts you are liable for must be no greater than 30-35% of your total gross income. Note that banks are generaly reluctant to grant mortgages on properties with less than 60 years of unexpired lease.

If you can provide evidence of your employment history for the last two years, this will also help your case. Also, if you are a permanent resident in Singapore, you may be granted a larger loan. Note that the minimum loan normally considered is approximately US$150,000.

 

Terms

For an expat’s first property in Singapore, the maximum loan-to-value ratio (LTV) for a Singaporean mortgage is 80% of the price or value of the property, whichever is lower. This means that you will need to make a down payment of at least 20%. Note that any mortgage in Singapore which has a term of longer than 30 years, or that ends after the borrower reaches the age of 65, the LTV is lowered by 20%. Hence, if this is the case for an expat’s first mortgage, the LTV will be lowered to 60%. In all cases, a minimum cash down payment must be paid. This is set at 5% for the 80% LTV and 10% for the lowered rate.

Several disincentives to property speculation were put in place in 2013.People who already have a mortgage or own a property in Singapore are only eligible for an LTV of 50% (or 30% in the cases described above.) For groups or consortia buying property, the LTV is only 20% (with no further reduction). In all these cases 25% of the purchase must be paid in cash.

Note that some lenders may offer a lower interest rate for owner-occupiers buying their first property in the country. The maximum full term for a loan is 40 years, and the maximum age at which this can be reached is 75.

 

Mortgage Types

The main division of mortgage types is into fixed rate, variable rate and market-pegged. With fixed-rate mortgages, any early payments will incur a penalty. With the other types, full early repayment is usually permissible. Both repayment and interest-only mortgages are available.

 

Application

In addition to the mortgage application form, the documents you need to apply for a mortgage typically include:

 

 

 




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