Best Home Loans 2018

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

The Singapore government began providing HDB flats to its citizens to help improve home affordability, and they are hugely popular in Singapore, representing about 80% of the market. This is because HDB flats are on average 80% cheaper than condos. However, HDB flats still cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and most people need to take out a home loan to finance their purchase. Below, we discuss different loans available in Singapore.

Best Fixed Rate Home Loan for HDB

We found that the best fixed rate home loans tend to be offered by banks listed in our table below, charging interest rates that are around 15-20% lower than the average of 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. Calculations below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
UOB FixedS$2,1071.9500%2 years
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DBS FixedS$2,1141.9800%2 years
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UOB FixedS$2,1392.0800%3 years
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DBS FixedS$2,1632.1800%3 years
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OCBC FixedS$2,1632.1800%2 years
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
UOB Fixed1.9500%2 years
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DBS Fixed1.9800%2 years
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UOB Fixed2.0800%3 years
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DBS Fixed2.1800%3 years
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OCBC Fixed2.1800%2 years
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When choosing a fixed rate loan, it's important to calculate how much the loan will cost you in monthly installments and in interest over time. You should also consider the flexibility of a loan in terms of getting a refinancing after a few years. Some loans will let you refinance after just 1 year, while some other banks have a "lock-in" period during which you are unable to renegotiate your terms. Fixed rate loans in Singapore typically have fixed interest rates for up to 3 years, after which interest rates become "floating," meaning they change as reference rates like SIBOR change day to day.

Best Floating Rate Home Loan for HDB

As opposed to a fixed rate, you can choose to get a floating rate home loan to fund your HDB flat purchase. Floating rates are pegged to reference rates that continuously move over time, thus getting their name "floating." Reference rates are typically designated as SIBOR, SOR, a combination of SIBOR and SOR or another set of rates determined by banks (typically called board rates or fixed deposit rates). For the last category of these rates, banks often have different names for their own interest rates, i.e. SPFR, FDR, FHR, etc. For SIBOR or SOR pegged rates, you are usually given the option to choose from 1-Month, 3-Months, 6-Months and 12-Months SIBOR or SOR rates.

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

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We found that the best floating rate home loans for HDB flats were offered by banks below, who charged interest 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 offering in the market. Calculations below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years. We have also prepared a guide on fixed vs floating rate.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
HSBC BoardS$2,0351.6500%2 years
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UOB BoardS$2,0591.7500%2 years
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SCB BoardS$2,0591.7500%2 years
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SCB BoardS$2,0711.8000%2 years
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OCBC BoardS$2,0591.7500%2 years
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
HSBC Board1.6500%2 years
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UOB Board1.7500%2 years
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SCB Board1.7500%2 years
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SCB Board1.8000%2 years
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OCBC Board1.7500%2 years
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Best Home Loans for Private Properties

Private residences account for about 20% of properties in Singapore. These include condos as well as landed properties, which can easily cost millions of dollars on the island. Typically, only Singaporeans with low income qualify for a HDB flat, so private residences are quite popular among foreigners and permanent residents. Below, we discuss different options available in Singapore, mainly fixed rate home loans and floating rate home loans.

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

$
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Best Fixed Rate Home Loan for Private Residence

We found that the best fixed rate home loans for private residences were offered by the banks below, who charged rates that were around 20% lower than the market. Therefore, choosing one of the cheaper options from the list below can help you save up to S$30,000 compared to the market average. Fixed rate loans in Singapore typically have fixed interest rates for up to 3 years, after which interest rates become "floating," meaning they change as reference rates like SIBOR change day to day. Calculations below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
UOB FixedS$2,1071.9500%2 years
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DBS FixedS$2,1141.9800%2 years
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UOB FixedS$2,1392.0800%3 years
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DBS FixedS$2,1632.1800%3 years
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OCBC FixedS$2,1632.1800%2 years
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
UOB Fixed1.95%2 years
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DBS Fixed1.98%2 years
{"endpoint":"https:\/\/redbrick.valuepenguin.sg\/api\/redbrick","inputs":{"filter_bank":[""],"filter_interest_type":"fixed","filter_lock_in":"false","individual_or_company":"individual","loan_tenure":25,"loan_type":"new_loan","property_type":"private","sort":"total_interest_cost","construction_status":"completed","loan_amount":500000,"property_purchase":"yes"},"loan":{"bank_name":"DBS","name":"Fixed","interestRateYear1":"1.98","interestRateYear2":"1.98","interestRateYear3":"1.48","interestRateYear4":"1.48","interestRateYear5":"1.48","interestRateYear6Plus":"1.48","lockInPeriod":"2 years","features":"Maximum loan tenure for HDB is 30 years\r\n","additionalInformation":"Rates Commencement Date: 3 month from LO or 1st disbursement","propertyType":"private-loan,hdb-loan","loanType":"new,refinance","minLoanAmount":100000,"rt1":"Fixed","rt2":"Fixed","rt3":"FHR8(DBS)","rt4":"FHR8(DBS)","rt5":"FHR8(DBS)","rt6":"FHR8(DBS)","rt1r":"0.0000","rt2r":"0.0000","rt3r":"0.5000","rt4r":"0.5000","rt5r":"0.5000","rt6r":"0.5000","sumYear1":"1.9800","sumYear2":"1.9800","sumYear3":"1.9800","sumYear4":"1.9800","sumYear5":"1.9800","sumYear6":"1.9800","sum":"1.9800","y2":"$2,114","y3":"$2,114","y4":"$2,114","y5":"$2,114","y6":"$2,114","y1":"$2,114","monthly_installments":"$2,114","total_interest_cost":134200}}
UOB Fixed2.08%3 years
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DBS Fixed2.18%3 years
{"endpoint":"https:\/\/redbrick.valuepenguin.sg\/api\/redbrick","inputs":{"filter_bank":[""],"filter_interest_type":"fixed","filter_lock_in":"false","individual_or_company":"individual","loan_tenure":25,"loan_type":"new_loan","property_type":"private","sort":"total_interest_cost","construction_status":"completed","loan_amount":500000,"property_purchase":"yes"},"loan":{"bank_name":"DBS","name":"Fixed","interestRateYear1":"2.18","interestRateYear2":"2.18","interestRateYear3":"2.18","interestRateYear4":"1.68","interestRateYear5":"1.68","interestRateYear6Plus":"1.68","lockInPeriod":"3 years","features":"Maximum loan tenure for HDB is 30 years\r\n","additionalInformation":"Commencement Date: 3 month from LO or 1st disbursement\r\n","propertyType":"private-loan,hdb-loan","loanType":"new,refinance","minLoanAmount":100000,"rt1":"Fixed","rt2":"Fixed","rt3":"Fixed","rt4":"FHR8(DBS)","rt5":"FHR8(DBS)","rt6":"FHR8(DBS)","rt1r":"0.0000","rt2r":"0.0000","rt3r":"0.0000","rt4r":"0.5000","rt5r":"0.5000","rt6r":"0.5000","sumYear1":"2.1800","sumYear2":"2.1800","sumYear3":"2.1800","sumYear4":"2.1800","sumYear5":"2.1800","sumYear6":"2.1800","sum":"2.1800","y2":"$2,163","y3":"$2,163","y4":"$2,163","y5":"$2,163","y6":"$2,163","y1":"$2,163","monthly_installments":"$2,163","total_interest_cost":148900}}
OCBC Fixed2.18%2 years
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When choosing a fixed rate loan, the most important part is minimizing total interest paid 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 installments. You can apply for a home loan using our comparison calculator of live quotes as well.

Best Floating Rate Home Loan for Private Residence

As opposed to a fixed rate, you can choose to get a floating rate home loan to fund your private property purchase. Because banks typically charge a "spread" on top of reference rates (i.e. SIBOR and SOR), they continuously move over time, hence the name "floating." Typically, you can choose from 1-Month, 3-Months, 6-Months and 12-Months SIBOR or SOR rates (or other bank-designated rates like FDR), and you should choose based on your expectations on how market rates will move. As a rule of thumb, 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. Calculations below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
HSBC BoardS$2,0351.6500%2 years
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SCB BoardS$2,0591.7500%2 years
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UOB BoardS$2,0591.7500%2 years
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SCB BoardS$2,0711.8000%2 years
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OCBC BoardS$2,0591.7500%2 years
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
HSBC Board1.6500%2 years
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SCB Board1.7500%2 years
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UOB Board1.7500%2 years
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SCB Board1.8000%2 years
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OCBC Board1.7500%2 years
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We found that the banks listed above offered 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 some of the other offerings available in the market. You can use our live home loan comparison tool to find the best deal through consultation with our partner brokerage firm.

Best Mortgage Loan Refinancing

According to our sources, most people in Singapore refinance their homes every 2 to 4 years. While this might be due to the fact that rates have been declining, home loan refinancing certainly can be a great tool for homeowners. When refinancing your home loan, banks will often ask about the 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. Because of this dynamic, refinancing your home loan can help you get lower interest rates and thus reduce your monthly installment. However, you should also consider other factors like legal subsidies that can offset the savings you get from a lower interest rate.

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. For a loan of S$250,000 over 15 years, this translates to roughly S$1,600 of monthly installments, and means that it will cost the borrower around S$35,000 just in interest expense. Calculations below assume a loan of S$250,000 with a tenure of 15 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
HSBC BoardS$1,5691.6500%2 years
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SCB BoardS$1,5801.7500%2 years
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UOB BoardS$1,5801.7500%2 years
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SCB BoardS$1,5861.8000%2 years
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OCBC BoardS$1,5801.7500%2 years
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
HSBC Board1.6500%2 years
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SCB Board1.7500%2 years
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UOB Board1.7500%2 years
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SCB Board1.8000%2 years
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OCBC Board1.7500%2 years
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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, and sometimes they even have minimum loan requirements of S$1,000,000 or more. Loans above S$1,500,000 to S$2,500,000 could qualify for even better interest rates. Calculations below assume a loan of S$2,000,000 with a tenure of 25 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
HSBC BoardS$8,1401.6500%2 years
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UOB BoardS$8,2361.7500%2 years
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SCB BoardS$8,2361.7500%2 years
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SCB BoardS$8,2841.8000%2 years
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OCBC BoardS$8,2361.7500%2 years
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
HSBC Board1.00%2 years
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UOB Board0.90%2 years
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SCB Board1.03%2 years
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SCB Board1.08%2 years
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OCBC Board0.25%2 years
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According to our calculation, the banks we list above provide the lowest rates for large mortgage loans for HDBs & private properties, whose rates were up to 20% lower than the market average. For a loan of S$2,000,000 over 25 years, this translates to roughly S$8,000 of monthly installments, and means that it will cost the borrower around S$500,000 just in interest expense. That's a lot of money, so only those with very high income level can afford these loans (and the properties to go along with it). 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 Property Under Construction

If you are looking to purchase a new property that's still under construction, you can still take out a home loan from banks. Banks offer a special kind of home loans for properties under construction that have zero lock-in period, so that you can refinance whenever you want. This feature could come in particularly handy when your property construction is complete and you want to get a better interest rate on your home loan. This is because home loans for properties under construction typically charge low interest rates in the first 2-3 years, but in later years charge rates that are higher than rates for normal home loans. Our calculations below assume a loan of S$500,000 with a tenure of 30 years.

BankMonthly Instalment1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
HSBC BoardS$1,7621.6500%0
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SCB BoardS$1,7861.7500%0
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DBS BoardS$1,7861.7500%0
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UOB BoardS$1,7861.7500%0
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SCB BoardS$1,7981.8000%0
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Bank1st Yr InterestLock-in PeriodApply Now
HSBC Board1.6500%0
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SCB Board1.7500%0
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DBS Board1.7500%0
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UOB Board1.7500%0
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SCB Board1.8000%0
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We found that the best home loans for HDB flats and private properties under construction charged around 10-20% lower rates than the market. Therefore, choosing one of the cheaper options from our list can help you save up to S$40,000-S$50,000 compared to some of the other offerings available in the market.

How to Choose the Best Home Loan

Home loans can be some of the most 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 loan type also varies depending on the market environment. Additionally, there are usually 10 to 20 documents that you need to sign when getting a home loan. Because of these complexities, we highly recommend that you consult a mortgage broker when shopping for a home loan.

However, this doesn't mean that you should blindly follow whatever the 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 obvious 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 May 2018

Besides interest rates, the remaining 20% should be dependent on the loan's 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 have been declining and people have been 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 used to pay 2% of interest, but you are getting it refinanced to 1.5% per year, resulting in S$2,500 in annual savings. However, legal fees in Singapore can cost you about S$2,500, while valuation fees can be around 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 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 that you need to watch out for, as well as banks that provide various 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

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 fixed rate is always better than floating rates, and vice versa. When considering this question, 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 overall cost. A longer time horizon is less relevant because you can always refinance your loan after the 3rd year quite easily. Below, we discuss a few possible scenarios that you must consider, and whether fixed or floating rate is more preferable in each of the situations.

When Rates are Flat or Declining: Floating Rate

When overall interest rates are stable or declining, it's generally more advisable to choose a floating rate home loan. Floating interest rates tend to be lower than fixed rates because banks are willing to take a lower rate for the opportunity to charge you higher rates as soon as it begins to move upwards. 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 floating rates and 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'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 in general, they provide an opportunity to save future cost when market rates rise in a meaningful way. 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 difference of S$5,000 annual interest you are paying to the bank.

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 your 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 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.

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
Duckju Kang

Duckju is the Senior Vice President of ValuePenguin Singapore. He covers the financial services industry, consumer finance products, budgeting, and investing. He previously worked in the financial services industry, including at such hedge funds as Tiger Asia and Cadian Capital.

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