UOB suspends London property loans after Brexit

United Overseas Bank (UOB), Singapore’s third-largest lender, has suspended its loans programme for London properties in the wake of uncertainties caused by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

UOB would be among the first banks in Singapore to turn cautious on such lending, even though it is not a large amount, as Brexit spooked global markets and pushed the pound to multi-year lows.

“We will temporarily stop receiving foreign property loan applications for London properties,” a UOB spokeswoman said in an email.

“As the aftermath of the UK referendum is still unfolding and given the uncertainties, we need to ensure our customers are cautious with their London property investments.”

Singapore’s biggest lender, DBS Group Holdings, said it continued to provide financing for property purchases in London but was advising its customers to be cautious.

“For customers interested in buying properties in London, we would advise them to assess the situation carefully before committing to their purchases as there could be potential foreign exchange and sovereign risks,” Ms Tok Geok Peng, executive director of secured lending, consumer banking group (Singapore) at DBS Bank, said in an email.

The Singapore dollar has gained about 10 per cent against the British pound since the referendum.

“There have been London properties available for the last few months before the Brexit. The question is whether these properties can still continue to receive buyers in the short-term,” said Ms Alice Tan, head of consultancy and research at Knight Frank Singapore.

Property consultants say data on the number of properties purchased by Singaporeans in the United Kingdom is not tracked that closely. Banks do not disclose lending data for UK property purchases.

UOB said it was monitoring the market environment closely and would review it regularly to determine when it could resume its property loan offering.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 30 Jun 2016

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