Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 20 October 2022

Reply to Parliamentary Question on Rise in Interest Rates and Risk of Foreclosure




Date: For Parliament Sitting on 20 October 2022

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Alex Yam Ziming, MP, Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC


To ask the Prime Minister (a) what proportion of home owners with loans from private financial institutions have been affected by the rise in interest rates; and (b) what is the risk and magnitude of foreclosures in the near- to medium-term. 

Answer by Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and Board member of MAS, on behalf of Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:

1. Households with outstanding mortgages will see higher borrowing costs as market interest rates rise from the exceptionally low levels of the past decade. They will face the impact of the rise at different points in time, depending on the type of loan packages that they have taken up. 

2. As of Q2 2022, one out of three homeowners with outstanding mortgages from financial institutions (FIs) are on mortgage packages that move in tandem with market interest rates. These borrowers have already seen mortgage repayments rise over the past months. The remaining borrowers are either (i) on rates linked to bank board rates or fixed deposit rates, which track market interest rates but with some lag, or (ii) on fixed interest rates for the first two to three years of their loan. Regardless, as rates could remain high beyond the next two to three years, all households will face higher borrowing costs than today and should therefore exercise prudence in new borrowings. 

3. On the whole, the household debt situation in Singapore remains generally healthy. The proportion of non-performing mortgages among FI loans is low at 0.3%.  The number of foreclosures has in fact trended down since 2021 and has remained low at fewer than 30 units so far this year. MAS does not expect widespread foreclosures in the near to medium term. This situation reflects in part the measures we have put in place over the years to limit the amount one can borrow to buy property, including our recent further tightening of the limits. Stress tests by MAS suggest that most households should still be able to service their mortgages under scenarios of further interest rate hikes and significant income losses. A relatively small proportion of highly leveraged households may however be more constrained under the stress scenario.