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What Is Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR)?

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
What Is Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR)?
Unlike the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), which applies to all housing loans, the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) in Singapore applies only to loans for HDB flats and Executive Condominiums (ECs).
The latest round of property cooling measures, announced on 29 September 2022, saw the medium-term interest rate floor used to compute the TDSR and MSR will be increased by 0.5%; from 3.5% to 4% for residential properties and 4.5% to 5% for non-residential properties. This means the final borrowing amount will be affected.
As with the TDSR, while the idea is straightforward in theory, but the HDB MSR becomes slightly more complicated in its application. Here is a guide on the MSR and how it affects you. Read on to find out more.

MSR Overview

What is the MSR?A rule that limits monthly repayments to 30% of the borrower’s gross monthly income.
Who is subject to the MSR?Those buying HDB flats (whether from HDB or on the resale market) and those buying EC units from developers.
Does it apply to HDB loans and/or bank loans?It does not matter whether you take an HDB or bank loan. As long as you buy an HDB flat or an EC from a developer, the MSR applies.
Are there any MSR exemptions?Yes, the MSR does not apply to the refinancing of loans for HDB flats and ECs that are owner-occupied, and that were purchased before 12 January 2013 (HDB flats) and 10 December 2013 (ECs).

What Is MSR?

If you’re planning to buy a property in Singapore, chances are you’ve heard of the TDSR, which states that only 55% of a borrower’s gross monthly income may be spent on debt repayments.
Less well-known, but just as important when it comes to qualifying for a loan, is the MSR for HDB flats. As mentioned, the MSR only applies to HDB flats and ECs bought from the developer. The MSR caps the amount that may be spent on mortgage repayments to 30% of a borrower’s gross monthly income.
For example, if you earn $5,000 per month, your monthly home loan instalments cannot exceed 30% of that, which is $1,500.

History of MSR in Singapore

In long-ago times, MSR was capped at 40% of a borrower’s gross monthly income. Then in January 2013, it was lowered to 35%. At the same time, the Monetary Association of Singapore (MAS) set an MSR limit of 30% for bank-issued loans for HDB flats.
In August of the same year, the MSR cap for HDB-issued loans was lowered again to 30%, bringing it into line with the banks. Then on 9 December, the same 30% MSR was introduced for loans issued by banks for ECs bought directly from property developers.
This means that now all HDB-issued loans, and loans issued by banks for both HDB flats and ECs, have an MSR of 30%.

How to Calculate MSR

MSR is calculated by dividing a borrower’s monthly mortgage obligations (including debts secured by property) by total gross monthly income. In the case of joint borrowers, their total monthly mortgage obligations are divided by their total gross monthly income.

MSR Formula

(Monthly repayment instalments for all property loans / Gross monthly Income) x 100% ≤ 30%

MSR Calculator

For convenience, PropertyGuru has an MSR calculator. Just indicate whether you’re making a single or joint application and fill up your income and deposit details, and the MSR calculator will work out your MSR limit.
Another useful tool we have is the Mortgage Affordability Calculator, which helps you with budgeting.

Other Factors to Take Note Of

When calculating the loan repayments, it’s worth reading the fine print below as well.

For Bank Loans:

  • a medium-term interest rate (currently 4%) is used to calculate the loan repayments,
  • variable income, such as commission and performance-based bonuses, is taken at 70% of its value,
  • financial assets must be pledged with the bank for four years, and
  • the maximum loan tenure is 30 years assuming the maximum Loan-to-Value ratio amount possible is to be borrowed.

For HDB Loans:

  • the maximum loan tenure is 25 years, or 65 years minus the buyer’s age (whichever is shorter),
  • the loan is calculated based on the HDB concessionary interest rate (prevailing CPF interest rate plus 0.1% – currently 2.6%), and
  • there is a loan ceiling of 80%.
If the MSR comes out above 30%, the borrower can try extending the loan tenure, selling or reducing the repayments on any other properties, or reducing the amount borrowed by increasing the cash downpayment.

MSR Exemptions

The MSR does not apply to the refinancing of loans for HDB flats and ECs that are owner-occupied, and that were purchased before 12 January 2013 (for HDB flats) and 10 December 2013 (for ECs purchased directly from a property developer).
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Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. PropertyGuru Pte Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

More FAQs About Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR)

Yes, the MSR, which applies only to loans for HDB flat purchases, is capped at 30% of a borrower's monthly income.

You can use the PropertyGuru Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) calculator.

The MSR is calculated by dividing a borrower's monthly mortgage obligations by total gross monthly income.

Yes, only for when the EC's Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) has not expired.