Covid-19’s economic fallout is likely to impact a handful of Singaporean homeowners who are servicing their home loan. From 6 April, borrowers who face financial strain can approach their bank or finance company to apply for a deferment of their housing loan monthly repayments until 31 December.
Announced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on 31 March, the home loan deferment is part of the latest package of measures—including deferment of personal unsecured credit and SME loans—to help Singaporeans tide over severe but temporary cash flow problems they may encounter this year.
Two ways to defer your home loan: MAS
Homeowners who wish to apply for the deferment of housing loan repayment can choose whether to defer their principal payment, or both the principal and interest payments.
It is important to note that interest will be charged on the deferred principal amount. No interest will be charged on the interest portion of the deferred payment, the MAS said.
In addition, the loan term may also be extended by up to the corresponding deferment period of the principal. Simply put, you’ll finish paying off your home loan later.
As any deferment may incur additional future obligations in terms of the additional interest payable and an extended loan tenure, MAS advised homeowners to “weigh their options carefully” before opting to defer their housing loan.
Do I qualify for deferment of my home loan?
Applicants must not be more than 90 days past due on loan repayments as at 6 April 2020. That said, they will not have to show proof that they have been adversely impacted by Covid-19 to obtain approval.
Also, the deferments are not automatic — interested applicants have to opt-in with their respective bank or finance company in order to benefit from the new measures. Our advice is to not wait until you’re past due before applying for your housing loan deferment.
Help for HDB homeowners
Although the latest measures by the MAS does not address homeowners who are servicing a HDB Concessionary Loan, help is also at hand.
On top of the recently announced measure to suspend late payment charges on HDB mortgage arrears, the HDB will review requests for deferment of HDB loan payment “on a case-by-case basis”. Any requests may be made through HDB’s Branch Office Service hotline at 1800 2255 432.
Considering the ever-evolving Covid-19 situation, the Government has reassured that it will continue to monitor the situation closely and will take swift action to do more if needed.
If you found this article helpful, check out How the Resilience Package could help the SG property market and Is it wrong to peg HDB Home Loan Rate to CPF Interest Rate?
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