Alvin Tan on prudent borrowing for housing in a rising interest rate environment

Households with outstanding mortgages will see their borrowing costs rise as market interest rates rise from record lows of the past decade, but they will be impacted by the rise at different times, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Board Member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Alvin Tan. Speaking in response to a question from a Member of Parliament on Thursday October 20, he said that with rates continuing or likely to continue to remain high beyond the next two to three years, all households will face costs of higher loan. They need to be cautious in their new borrowings. Overall, the household debt situation in Singapore remains generally healthy, he said. The proportion of non-performing mortgages among loans from financial institutions is low at 0.3%, while the number of foreclosures has been on a downward trend since 2021 and has remained low at less than 30 units so far this year. Mr Tan said MAS does not expect widespread foreclosures in the short to medium term. He said the situation partly reflects the measures put in place over the years to limit the amount one can borrow to buy property. Mr Tan said the MAS stress tests suggest most households should still be able to repay their mortgages under scenarios of further interest rate hikes and significant income losses. A relatively small proportion of highly indebted households could be more constrained in a stressed scenario, he added.

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