Maybank rolls out lowest rate

IN A bid to increase its slice of the housing pie, Maybank has rolled out a three-year fixed-rate loan package with first-year interest at 1.6 per cent – the lowest of its kind in Singapore.

With second- and third-year interest at 2.2 and 2.9 per cent respectively, that works out to an average of 2.23 per cent per annum over three years.

This is even lower than the HDB‚s concessionary rate of 2.6 per cent a year.

The new package is available for both new and refinanced loans of any amount up to 70 per cent of valuation prices of completed owner-occupier properties.

Maybank will also subsidise the full legal and valuation fees if the loan amount is $400,000 or above for private properties or $250,000 for HDB flats.

As global interest rate continues to fall and with Singapore Interbank Offer Rate (Sibor) hovering at just 0.68 per cent in these volatile times, Maybank‚s sales pitch for its new three-year fixed rate loan rests on the lines of stability and assurance.

“Owning a home is a long-term commitment, and prudent financing considerations should extend beyond short-term Sibor fluctuations,” said Maybank‚s consumer banking head, Ms Helen Neo.

“The current Sibor is already close to the 10-year historical low in July 2003, and fluctuations within three-year periods can vary as widely as 3 per cent. There is no guarantee that Sibor will keep trending downwards,” she said.

Mr Dennis Ng, founder of mortgage consultancy portal, points out that mortgages from different banks come with different conditions. Property valuations may also vary.

Mr Ng cited DBS‚ three-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.5 per cent a year as an example, noting that its equivalent loan amount is 70 to 80 per cent of valuation. That is higher than Maybank‚s.

“For couples buying a new home or upgrading, cash may be tight and a 5- to 10-per-cent difference may mean that they may not be able to buy the place,” he added.

Likewise, UOB offers a three-year fixed rate housing loan at 3.25 per cent interest rate a year for loan amounts that is up to 80 per cent of valuation.

Source : Today – 6 Mar 2009

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