3 key things you need to know about fixed home loan rates

5 min read

Buying a home will likely be the biggest ticket commitment any individual will make in their lifetime. Unless you’re planning to buy out your property in full cash (in which case this article is not for you), you will definitely need to take out a loan.

If you’re someone who likes absolute certainty, a fixed home loan rate might be right up your alley. Let’s take a look at 3 key things you need to know before signing up for one.

What exactly are fixed home loan rates?

Precisely as the name suggests, fixed home loan rates (FHR) refers to a loan that has a fixed interest rate for the loan term. 

A fixed home rate doesn’t fluctuate or respond to volatility on the broader market. It stays exactly the same regardless of whether interest rates rise or fall. Each respective bank decides their respective rates, using metrics that are not public domain.  

1. Fixed home rates aren’t eligible for properties under construction

Is your bank running an irresistible promotion on a fixed home rate? That’s something you have no choice but to pass on if your property hasn’t completed construction. 

HDB building
Property still under construction? The only loan you can get is a floating one.

Buildings under construction (BUC) are only eligible for a floating rate loan. Until the construction of your property is completed, regardless of the type of property you have, the only bank loan you can get will most likely be the Singapore Overnight Average Rate (SORA) or a package pegged to a rate set by the bank, often known as a board rate (BR). 

The structure of the rates is usually the benchmark (SORA or BR) plus the spread (bank’s profit). Whichever loan you decide to go for, be sure you clarify with your bank before you commit.

2. Fixed home rates aren’t fixed forever

Despite what the name suggests, fixed home rates stay fixed… until they’re not. All fixed loan packages eventually convert to floating rates which are either pegged to the bank’s rate or the SORA rate. The conversion happens in one to five years, depending on the loan package you picked.

These years are known as the lock-in period, during which you cannot refinance your loan without paying a penalty fee on the redemption of the disbursed portion of your mortgage. There are other fees as well, such as a cancellation fee. 

Your bank may decide to raise its interest rates, giving you an advance notice of just 30 days to decide if you want to stay or find a different loan option. 

If you’ve purchased a HDB flat, you can take comfort in knowing that the interest rate on the HDB loan has remained static at 2.6% since 2003. 

QuarterConcessionary interest rate
1 October 2021 to 31 December 20212.6% per annum
1 January 2022 to 1 March 20222.6% per annum

Source: HDB

Another essential thing to keep in mind is that some banks won’t alert you when your fixed home rate loan expires. After your lock-in period is up, your loan automatically converts to a floating rate loan depending on the package you signed up for, which may or may not work to your benefit. 

3. Go for a fixed rate if you’re risk-averse

If you’re someone who favours predictability and want to know exactly how much you need to fork out every month, you should opt for a fixed home rate. A fixed rate makes it a lot more straightforward when it comes to organising your monthly cash flow and assists in long-term financial budgeting and planning.

calculating finances
That’s one less thing you need to calculate every month.

Fixed home loan rates of banks are historically more expensive than floating home loans. What you’re paying for is the peace of mind and the certainty that your rate will remain the same, even if market conditions shift and interest rates skyrocket.  

Those holding property long-term may also prefer to opt for a fixed home rate for stability and protection against market fluctuations. If you think about it, a lock-in period of five years isn’t all that long, especially if you’re purchasing a HDB flat where the MOP is exactly that of five years. 

When is the best time to get a fixed home loan?

Interest rates are predicted to rise in the near future. The United States Federal Reserve is likely to raise its rates three times to 0.75-1% by end-2022 in a bid to tame inflation, with the first hike starting as early as March. Singapore’s interest rates are closely pegged to that of the US, so be prepared for our rates to edge higher as well.

This means that if you’re taking a bank loan, your monthly mortgage payments will most likely increase as well. A fixed home loan rate would be an excellent way to hedge yourself against the rising interest rates.

Chat with a mortgage broker or your bank about your different loan options so they can help you decide which is the best choice for your situation. Alternatively, check out 99.co’s mortgage assistant that compares the various loan rates amongst banks so you can get the best bang for your buck.

Are you taking a fixed rate home loan? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook post.

If you found this article helpful, check out 5 things to know when switching to a SORA loan and Should you choose an FHR Loan or a SIBOR loan?

Looking to sell your property?

Whether your HDB apartment is reaching the end of its Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) or your condo has crossed its Seller Stamp Duty (SSD) window, it is always good to know how much you can potentially gain if you were to list and sell your property. Not only that, you’ll also need to know whether your gains would allow you to right-size to the dream home in the neighbourhood you and your family have been eyeing.

One easy way is to send us a request for a credible and trusted property consultant to reach out to you.

Alternatively, you can jump onto 99.co’s Property Value Tool to get an estimate for free.

If you’re looking for your dream home, be it as a first-time or seasoned homebuyer or seller – say, to upgrade or right-size – you will find it on Singapore’s fastest-growing property portal 99.co.

Meanwhile, if you have an interesting property-related story to share with us, drop us a message here — and we’ll review it and get back to you.

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