Home loan rates begin climbdown

Lending criteria relaxed. Higher loan-to-value ratios offered. Move to boost fortunes of the real estate sector. (EB FILE)

After maintaining high mortgage rates for more than a year, banks and finance companies in the UAE are finally reducing their home loan rates and relaxing their lending criteria.

The move is expected to broaden the buyers' base and boost the sagging fortunes of the country's real estate sector, experts said.

"Quite a many banks have reduced their charges and increased their loan-to-value [LTV] ratio since the beginning of this year," Dean Biddulph, Senior Mortgage Adviser at Independent Finance, a Dubai-based company providing financial services, told Emirates Business.

Until last year, some lenders were offering home loan rates as high as 8.5 per cent. A number of lenders have slashed mortgage rates for new and existing clients. Standard Chartered Bank UAE, for instance, is offering mortgage rates as low as six per cent to a certain segment of customers, while Abu Dhabi Finance is offering mortgage rates starting from 5.75 per cent.

This is good news for property developers, some of whom are scheduled to release thousands of finished property units into the UAE market this year. "Market dynamics have changed last year. We have seen lenders and borrowers focus on low-risk investments with completed properties remaining the first choice for both lenders and borrowers," said Faisal Iqbal, Head of Secured Lending Business, Barclays UAE.

A number of banks are also relaxing their lending criteria.

 

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