graph showing rising mortgage rates

Interest Rate Rising?

Last week, two banks announced the latest hike to their FDR home loan pegs with Maybank’s FDMR36 going up from 1.40% to 1.80% on 26 Jun, and OCBC finally moving up their 36-month FDR as well from 0.65% to 0.95% effective 2 Aug.  The latter move was correctly predicted by us (on 23 May) as the next likely FDR to be revised up after the recent increase on DBS home loans also in May.

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Has cost of funds went up in the interbank market after the latest US Fed rate hike in June?  We are not quite sure to be honest and as I have mentioned before in this blog, banks will always be privy to any rate movements in the interbank before the rest of the market finds out and it does seem like liquidity is drying up (see graph below) with a strengthening dollar over the past month.  And as of 3 July, 1-month and 3-month SIBOR has went up to 1.44809 and 1.57483 respectively.

fdr tranche vs sibor graph

Here’s a few other noteworthy observations:

1. Fixed Rates Are Going Up

The local banks, which always set the benchmark being market leaders, have moved up their fixed rates from 1.85-1.95% from a month ago to the prevailing range of 1.95-2.18%.  At current moment, there are just less than a handful of foreign lenders still holding on to 2-year fixed rate at 1.75% or 3-year fixed rate at average 1.82%, but not for very much longer.  My take is they would soon catchup after July.

So, for those who concur with the consensus view that rates can only go north from here, and who like to lock down fixed rates at 1.75% level, you would need to act quickly.  Speak to our consultants today who can run the numbers and show you how much you stand to save, especially when we are now offering exclusively to MortgageWise clients our “Zero-Cost Refinancing” option.

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2. Floating Rates Are Also Going Up

We just said that local banks always set the benchmark, especially DBS with access to the largest pool of Sing dollar funding in its CASA (current account and savings account) base of POSB accounts. The bank has just raised its prevailing floating rate from 1.65% to 1.75% throughout on 22 June last month, and other lenders are poised to follow soon.

Incidentally DBS still keep to its old rate of 1.65% for those who signed up directly on its website but with a need to purchase mortgage insurance and some other conditions applicable.  And it is also giving a $500 SIA voucher for applications by this month.  Now not many brokers, perhaps none, would be telling clients about direct promotions by banks for fear of losing the deal.  However, at MortgageWise, we always begin our advisory from a long-term partnership perspective and we have no qualms giving you that “whole-of-market” view of all available packages.  In fact, we think we have even more compelling overall value for you at the moment be it new purchase loan or refinancing.  Let us prove to you with numbers why we think so, and you will likely agree with us.

3. Longer-Tenure FDR Tranches Not Always The Best

I have covered this point in great details in my last blog post, debunking some erroneous views that I read on some mortgage sites that longer-tenure tranche FDR with low “spreads” (technically not the real spreads) makes a better option than 8-month FDR for example.  The recent moves by Maybank and OCBC have proven my point that higher FDR values (with low spreads) can go even higher, because no one really walks into a bank to place a fixed deposit for 36-month, will you?

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We also do not presume to know how the different banks’ Treasuries operate in terms of funding structure and hedging strategies. The only reasonable comparison to make on spreads is when the underlying base is the same like SIBOR home loans.  Here, a spread of mere 0.10% for OCBC home loans in the first year for example, above the 3-month SIBOR, is indeed the lowest spread for all SIBOR loans in the market at the moment.  To some extent, if US Fed rate hikes gain pace, a 3-month SIBOR also has a slight laggard effect than 1-month, though the actual difference in interest savings is arguable over long periods.

At the end of day, remember FDR tranches be it 8-month, 9-month, 14-month, 24-month or 36-month are controlled by lenders just like different tranches of BOARD rates, as they are no longer a pure deposit rate or cost of funds for banks but act as a lever for banks to increase their interest margin.  And let me re-iterate this point once more – for some banks, the cost implications for raising certain FDR tranches is more real than others.  For the best Singapore home loan rates, speak to our consultants who can explain to you more on that and why we believe that, at MortgageWise, we have a better way of selecting FDR tranches.

Since 2014, has provided thought leadership in the mortgage planning space in Singapore, taking deep dives into the latest trends in the industry, providing useful mortgage tips, and making sense of rate movements. We aim to build trust with clients for longer term partnership and not just do product-pushing for a one-time deal unlike bankers. That’s why we always present “whole-of-market” perspective including packages that banks do not pay us. That’s why many have chosen to work with us in the end notwithstanding the sheer number of brokers and agents out there.

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