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DBS mortgage growth could drop by half

By Romesh Navaratnarajah: In the wake of the latest property cooling measures, DBS Bank's mortgage growth in Singapore could fall by 50 percent this year, said Chief Executive Piyush Gupta in a report by The Business Times.  

The bank's Singapore loan book stands at about S$100 billion, with mortgages accounting for S$37 billion – an increase of roughly S$5 billion from last year's figure, he said during the group's recent Q4 results briefing.

"A couple of weeks ago, my estimate was that mortgage volume is going to come off."

Last month, Gupta stated that the bank's mortgage volumes could slide by up to 20 percent following the new curbs.

On 11 January, the government introduced additional cooling measures to regulate the property market, as private home sales soared to a record 22,290 units in 2012.

Despite the regulations, mortgage applications at DBS held up in January. However, many of the loans were for purchases made before the measures came into effect.

"If you exclude that ... interestingly bookings are still holding up."

Notably, resale bookings fell 25 to 30 percent, while bookings for new units rose by the same amount as developers are giving out discounts, said DBS' chief.  

But resale bookings are recorded immediately in the loan book. For units under construction, the loan disbursements happen progressively over two to three years.

"Our growth instead of being S$5 billion might wind up being S$2.5 billion to S$3 billion for this year."

Nevertheless, DBS has been able to hold up the pricing of new mortgages, but this would also depend on the competition, Gupta added. Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor of PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories email Related Stories: Singapore cooling: Mortgage loans could drop up to 20%UK mortgage to become cheaper: Fitch

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