How to Refinance from HDB Housing Loan to Bank Loan

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When buying a Housing Development Board (HDB) flat, there are many good reasons for homeowners to take up an HDB housing loan as their first home loan. For one, since homeowners are allowed to borrow up to 90% of the property value, the down payment is potentially more manageable. 

With that said, if after a few years, you want a home loan option with lower interest rates, it is possible to switch from an HDB loan to a bank loan for more savings. In this article, we will guide you along the process and address the following: 

  • Am I eligible to refinance to a bank loan? 
  • Why would I want to refinance my home? 
  • How do I switch from an HDB loan to a bank loan? 
  • How long will the process take? 

 

Are You Eligible to Refinance to a Bank Loan? 

To find out if you are eligible to refinance from an HDB loan to a bank loan, you need to consider many factors. 

Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) 

First, there is Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR), which refers to the portion of a borrower’s gross monthly income that goes towards repaying all property loans, including the loan being applied for. MSR is currently capped at 30% of a borrower’s gross monthly income.

Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR)

Second, there is Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), which refers to the portion of a borrower’s gross monthly income that goes towards repaying monthly debt obligations, including property loans and the loan being applied for. The TDSR limit is currently set at 60% and below of a borrower’s gross monthly income. 

Loan-to-Value (LTV) 

Third, the bank’s Loan-to-Value (LTV) limit will apply when you switch over. So, if up till the date, you’ve not repaid at least 25% of your property’s purchase price (or valuation, whichever lower), you may need to top-up extra cash or CPF to bring it in line with the LTV. 

For example, your HDB flat was $400,000 and you took the maximum loan of 90% from HDB ($360,000) when you bought it. It’s been quite a few years since, and so far, you’ve paid off over $60,000 to HDB. Including your initial down payment of $40,000, you’ve paid for over $100,000 or 25% of your property’s price and hence, can move your entire loan balance (75% or less) to the bank. 

If you have not paid that much yet, you’ll still only be allowed to refinance but you’ll still only be allowed to loan up to 75% from the bank, meaning you’ll need to pay the outstanding amount in cash/CPF.  

Other refinancing eligibility criteria 

Finally, you will also need to meet a minimum income criteria which will vary depending on the amount the bank loan is for and whether or not you are buying the property on your own or with a co-signer.  which will vary depending on the amount the bank loan is for and whether or not you are buying the property on your own or with a co-signer. 

If you satisfy all of the above, then yes, you are indeed eligible to switch from an HDB loan to a bank loan. Once you make the switch to a bank loan though, it is impossible to go back to an HDB loan — so choose wisely!

 

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Why Would You Want to Refinance Your HDB Loan? 

Lower Interest Rate

One of the benefits of an HDB loan is the stable interest rate, which is currently 2.6%. This rate is pegged at +0.1% of the CPF Ordinary Account rate, and hasn’t changed for over 10 years. However, while some may appreciate the stability, 2.6% is considered steep compared to the interest rates offered by banks, which have mostly been under 2% in recent years. 

Although the difference may seem small at just over 1%, it really does add up over the years. This is usually the main reason why many homeowners choose to refinance their HDB loans as soon as they can do so without any cash outlay — it’s all about the significant savings. 

Perks and Incentives

In order to help customers minimise the cost of refinancing, banks sometimes offer incentives on top of low interest rates. For example, many banks offer subsidies (subject to a clawback clause) to cover fees incurred during refinancing, such as valuation and legal fees. 

For example, let’s say the valuation and legal fees cost $214 and $1,600 respectively. The bank might provide $2,000 in subsidies for refinancing customers, which means that the cost of refinancing is waived in such a case. However, banks sometimes offer these subsidies as a percentage of the loan amount, which means that you might still need to fork out a small sum of money in some cases.         

 

How Do I Refinance from an HDB Loan to Bank Loan? 

1. Compare Packages Available

If you are refinancing to a bank loan, do your due diligence by assessing the packages available on the market. Comparing interest rates offered by different banks is one thing, but there are various perks and incentives (see above) offered as well. 

If you find that you are overwhelmed with choices, this is a good time to engage advisors from PropertyGuru Finance to help you out. They will help to advise you on the home financing that best fits your needs and guide you through the different interest rates, loan tenures, fees, and varying repayment terms that may be available. 

2. Prepare the Necessary Documents and Apply 

After finding a bank loan of your choice, you will need a list of documents on hand as part of the application process. They are:

  • Your NRIC or passport
  • Your HDB flat details, which can be obtained from the MyHDBPage
  • Your HDB financial information, which can be obtained from the MyHDBPage
  • Your latest outstanding loan statement, which can be obtained from the MyHDBPage
  • Your latest Central Provident Fund (CPF) Property Withdrawal Statement, which can be obtained from your CPF account
  • Your latest Notice of Assessment from Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, which can be obtained from the IRAS MyTax Portal
  • 12 months-worth of CPF transaction history, which can be obtained from your CPF account
  • Your payslips from the last three months
  • Your employment contract (only if you have less than three months of employment)
  • Tenancy Agreement and Stamp Certificate (only if you have rental income)

3. Valuation Assessment

Before the refinancing application is approved, the bank will need to assess the value of your property. This will likely be done by a qualified surveyor or valuer sent by the bank itself. These are valuation professionals commissioned to ascertain a property’s market value based on a series of metrics, such as location, land size, property size, the age and condition of the property, etc. 

4. Choose a Law Firm

There are a lot of complicated steps involved in refinancing. Instead of handling everything yourself, almost all homeowners engage a law firm to do the complex work for them. These tasks can be everything from conveyancing and managing the necessary paperwork to reminding you of when to sign various documents. The typical fees involved should be around $1,500. 

5. Adjust your CPF Contribution (if applicable)

If you will be using your CPF savings for the monthly instalments it’s important to adjust the amount that is being paid. Your lawyer will assist you with lodging the monthly CPF repayment amount. 

How Long Will the Refinancing Process Take? 

The usual turnaround time for processing the switch to a bank loan is about one month. 

Ultimately, even though the process might look somewhat complicated on paper, a lot of the heavy lifting is done by the law firm that you hire. Besides, considering the potential savings you get for refinancing from an HDB loan to a bank loan, this might be well worth your time. 

Have you heard? PropertyGuru Finance is an online mortgage marketplace where you can compare the best home loan rates in town and access personalised home financing advice and recommendations tailored to your unique needs - all for free! 

 

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