POSTED: 10 Feb 2014 19:24 | CNA


The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has widened the existing exemptions from the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) to cover the refinancing of loans for owner-occupied properties that were bought before the measure was introduced last year.

In a statement, the MAS said it had received feedback from borrowers who have faced challenges refinancing such loans.

Under the revised rules, a borrower who bought a residential property before the TDSR rules were introduced will be exempted from the TDSR threshold as long as the buyer occupies the home that is being refinanced.

The Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) will also not apply to the refinancing of loans for HDB flats and Executive Condominiums that are owner-occupied and were purchased before the respective MSR implementation dates of Jan 12 2013 and Dec 10 2013.

A similar concession will apply to loan tenures. In such cases, borrowers whose loan tenures for their owner-occupied residential properties exceed the current limits will be allowed to maintain the current tenure when refinancing the loan.

MAS latest move was welcomed by the banking industry.

Koh Ching Ching, group head of corporate communications at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC), said: “Some borrowers with good reasons to refinance will now face less difficulties in doing so. The older home loans were not assessed with the new TDSR rules and hence the exemption for properties bought before the introduction of the stipulated TDSR rules is therefore fair.”

Getty Goh, Director of Ascendant Assets, said: “Without this reprieve there are a lot of analysts forecasting prices coming down quite fast at quite a significant rate, purely because a large part of homeowners are not able to secure refinancing from banks.

“With this reprieve, this large group of homeowners are now able to secure refinancing and in turn they are able to hold for a longer period of time. It is not good for prices to drop fast and significantly, because definitely it’s the government’s intent to see prices stabilising.

“We’ve come across many instances before these, a lot of them were towards the end of the loan tenure and they were in a catch-22 situation. Because on one hand they cannot go to another bank and refinance their accommodations because of their TDSR. On the other hand, if they were to stick with the current loan provider, they’ll be paying two per cent, three per cent, so I think this is really a good reprieve for this group of people.”