Almost 3 times more households received assistance with mortgage payments compared to the same period in 2019: HDB, Housing News & Top Stories

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SINGAPORE – A total of 1,356 households that were unable to meet their monthly mortgage payments received assistance from the Housing Board from April to June this year, as Singaporeans grapple with the economic impact of the pandemic of Covid-19.

This is an increase of almost three times from the 517 financially troubled households that received assistance during the same period last year.

Of the 1,356 households assisted, two-thirds have requested to defer their loan payments or to pay their loan arrears in installments, the HDB told the Straits Times on Wednesday (August 19th).

The remaining third of households received other forms of assistance, including extending the term of their mortgage to help reduce monthly payments.

Among those who received help was taxi driver Edwin Leong, who had defaulted on his home loan for two months by the time he called HDB for financial help in April.

The 41-year-old said his income fell by more than half when Singapore shut down during the two-month blackout period.

“I was pretty worried about late fees and future payments, so I just decided to call HDB to take a chance and see if that can help me,” said Mr. Leong, who is the only support. family of four, with two children aged 10 and 13. They live in a five-room HDB apartment in Choa Chu Kang.

Mr. Leong chose to reduce his monthly HDB loan payment by $ 670 for six months through December and is now paying 40% less than before. The difference due will be spread over future payments.

“Those few hundred dollars helped lighten my load, so I’m not that stressed out. Hopefully the Covid-19 situation improves by December. Otherwise, I don’t know what to do either,” he said. he declared.

One of the relief measures to help Singaporeans get through Covid-19 was the suspension of late payment fees on HDB mortgage arrears for three months from April to June. It was further extended for three months until the end of September.

The current late charge is 7.5 percent per annum based on the amount of the unpaid installment at the end of the month.

Banks and financial companies have also relieved for those who have difficulty repaying their loan.

Data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore shows that 34,000 homeowners have asked to stop paying their loans and interest until December. Another 2,100 people have asked banks to defer their renovation and education loans.

In its statement on Wednesday, HDB said it has put in place various assistance measures to help apartment owners facing financial difficulties overcome this crisis. These include enabling apartment owners to:

– Reduce or postpone the terms of their loan by six months, with an additional extension of six months if necessary;

– Pay their loan arrears in installments until their financial situation improves; and

– Extend the term of their mortgage to help reduce their monthly payments, if necessary

“This will give them more time and space to sort out their finances, seek re-employment and / or improve their financial situation,” HDB said.

Those facing “long-term hardship” may include family members who work as co-owners to help pay for the apartment. Alternatively, they may consider properly sizing a smaller apartment that stays within their budget, HDB added.

HDB apartment owners who need help with their mortgage payments can contact HDB at 1-800-225-5432 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, or make an appointment with housing advisors at HDB branches for help and advice.

“Our housing counselors offer financial advice, assess the credit situation of apartment owners and provide advice on options suited to their needs, including referring them to welfare agencies for work placements and assistance. financial, if necessary, ”HDB said.

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