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5 Sustainable Green Home Loans In Singapore And How To Get Incentives When Your Property is Certified Green

Save money and go green at the same time, what’s not to love?

Sustainable living is the new normal.

In Singapore, the nationwide movement the Singapore Green Plan 2030 is spearheading the push for a more sustainable future over the next decade. The initiative looks at making the country a more greener and liveable home, among other things.

Beyond the national agenda, it is understood that living sustainably also helps in saving money. That’s because an increased reliance on electronic devices and appliances has led to higher electricity consumption, resulting in rising electricity bills and a growing carbon footprint.

When you opt for green mark appliances and homes, you can be assured that your home reduces the usage of energy, water and material resources. That way, you can help yourself save money while doing your part for the environment.

What’s the biggest asset Singaporeans usually own? Our homes of course. Since this is the largest asset that we have, we also tend to take more care – or are more price sensitive – with regard to matters revolving around this asset, including our home loans and renovations.

To join the bandwagon, banks have come on board the nationwide sustainability push and are offering deals on home loans to reel in a younger generation of homeowners who are more environmentally-conscious.

Read Also: Guide To Understanding How SORA-Pegged Home Mortgage Loans Work

Is Your Home Green?

Homeowners, you will qualify if your property is awarded by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) within the past three years. So if you are applying for a green loan in 2023, the property must have received the BCA Green Mark award as early as 2020.

To check if a property has been awarded the Green Mark, you may refer to the Super Low Energy Building (SLEB) Smart Hub’s Green Mark buildings directory. If your preferred bank requires a minimum award rating (e.g., Gold or Gold Plus), you may also filter the results based on that. You can filter the results based on the award rating of the building too, as certain banks require a minimum award rating.

The SLEB listing is updated once a year. The listing is based on voluntary Green Mark certification, excluding legislated projects and non-disclosure projects.

What Is The BCA Green Mark Certification Scheme

The BCA Green Mark certification scheme was launched in 2005, and is a green building rating system designed to evaluate a building’s environmental impact and performance from design to the operational stage.

A Green Mark home provides benefits such as it reduces the usage of energy, water and material resources, enhancing environmental protection and having better indoor environmental quality, leading to better health and well-being.

The Green Mark rating recognises performances that are above mandatory, regulated standards, including robust levels of energy efficiency, indoor air quality, greenery provision, active mobility considerations, materials and waste management and water efficiency.

The scheme is refreshed every few years to stay relevant to the latest BCA Green Mark 2021 certification scheme.

The refreshed scheme encourages the industry and professionals to collaborate and develop green building solutions to raise energy efficiency and attain standards to achieve sustainability outcomes outlined in the Singapore Green Building Masterplan (SGBMP). One of the targets under SGBMP is to have at least 80% of buildings in Singapore (by Gross Floor Area) to be green by 2030.

If you have more than one property, you can also be eligible for the scheme, provided that the properties meet the eligibility criteria.

Banks Offering Green Home Loans – Who Are They – HSBC, StanChart, UOB, OCBC, Maybank

A number of banks offer green home loans, but each bank offers a different deal to entice customers. The loan plans are not as competitive as normal home loans, where banks compete right up to the decimal point in the percentage of interest it offers.

Banks like HSBC, Stanchart and OCBC offer pricing discounts on the mortgage loans, as well as voucher rebates from electricity providers. Meanwhile banks like UOB and Maybank provide shopping vouchers instead.

Some banks do not publish the exact preferential rates for their green home loan promotions. It is advised to speak directly with the bank if you want to find out more.

HSBC Green Home Loan

You can get 0.05% discount off the prevailing Premier SORA-pegged or fixed rate package through the loan tenor. It is an evergreen waiver of conversion fee for repricing.

Your property needs to have a valid Green Mark GoldPLUS or above award. You can also receive $100 worth of Genoco reward code.

From 1 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023, for every Green Mortgage acceptance, HSBC will plant five trees across Malaysia, Indonesia, and India. This is in partnership with One Tree Planted, a charity focused on global reforestation.

Standard Chartered Green Home Loan

The loan offers borrowers a pricing discount on your mortgage loan should you meet the following conditions:

  • Your mortgage property must have a valid Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark rating of Green Mark Gold, Green Mark GoldPlus, Green Mark Platinum, or Green Mark Super Low Energy (SLE), which includes Green Mark GoldPlus SLE and Green Mark Platinum SLE, which is within 3 years from the certification year.
  • You must apply for a new mortgage loan or reprice your existing loan with the bank and you must take up a floating rate package, which is a SORA-pegged package.

Late payment fee is at $50 for SGD loans, and the default rate of 5% above SGD Prime lending rate on the overdue instalment amount for SGD loans.

The bank has a Green and Social Sustainable Finance Product Framework. This defines eligibility for a “sustainability” label for all products across the bank. It was co-authored with Sustainalytics, a provider of ESG data and verification. Its Sustainable Product Framework and Sustainable Finance Impact Report can be found here.

OCBC Eco-Care Home Loan

You get a promotional 3M Compounded SORA pricing package and a one-time $88 bill rebate when you sign up for Senoko’s LifeGreen24 plan by 31 Dec 2023.

  • The 3-month Compounded SORA for a given Singapore business day is published by 9 am on the next Singapore business day on MAS’ websiteView more details on SORA.
  • Each 3M Compounded SORA will be fixed on the Rate Review Date and will apply throughout the next 3-month period respectively.
  • Free switch to another pricing package after the 1st year (for new loans only).
  • Flexibility to prepay up to 50% of the loan amount in the first 2 years.

You have to be at least 21 years old to apply for the loan. The minimum loan amount for Singapore private homes is $300,000 and the minimum loan for HDB flats is $200,000.

Complete the online Tropical Home Energy Efficiency Assessment (THEEA) developed by BCA beforehand to predict your home’s energy consumption. It takes around two minutes to complete it.

The loan application approval time takes usually 60 minutes. Online loan approval and usage are only applicable for applications via Myinfo. Do note that there might be delays or non-approvals of applications for various reasons.

Read Also: Here’s Why It Doesn’t Make Financial Sense To Repay Your HDB Flat Home Loan Early

UOB Green Home Loan

There are no preferential rates for this green loan. However, you can enjoy other incentives like shopping vouchers, cash rebates, and renovation subsidies (for solar panels).

You can get a TANGs Gift Card worth up to $200 which you can use to upgrade your home appliances to be more energy efficient.

You can choose from a wide range of loan packages to suit your financing needs. There are 3-month Compounded SORA Home Loan packages, fixed rates, and a combination of fixed-rate and 3-Month Compounded SORA.

Property to be financed must be awarded Green Mark (Gold and above) by BCA.

For Singaporeans and PRs, applications submitted between 8.30am to 9pm daily will be processed instantly. Applications received outside these times will be processed the next working day. Foreigners and US persons will need to leave their details for the bank to contact them.

If you opt for U-Solar packages to purchase and install solar panels for your home, you can get up to $3,888 in subsidies. There are also $2,200 cash rewards when you refinance with the bank.

The subsidy is only valid for U-Solar packages offered by UOB’s solar partners for Singapore. The applicable subsidy can only be used to offset the purchase and installation costs for solar panels provided and/or supplied by the UOB U-Solar Partners to you under the prevailing residential U-Solar promotion packages available here.

Maybank Green Home Loan

The bank does not offer special rates for its green home loan as well, but eligible borrowers get $200 eCapitaVouchers. The eligibility is less stringent for this home loan, as properties with a BCA Green Mark of Platinum ratings also apply.

You are eligible if your residential property has attained one of the following valid BCA Green Mark Awards for the certification year from 2020 and onwards:

  • Platinum Positive Energy
  • Platinum Zero Energy
  • Platinum Super Low Energy
  • Gold Positive Energy
  • GoldPLUS Zero Energy
  • GoldPLUS Super Low Energy
  • Platinum
  • GoldPLUS

The steps to qualify for a Maybank Green Home Loan are as follows:

Step 1: Check against the Green Mark Buildings Directory on the SLEB Smart Hub to confirm that your residential property has attained a valid Green Mark Award (as defined in Clause 2(ii) of the Terms and Conditions).

Step 2: If your residential property is awarded a valid Green Mark Award, register your interest for a Maybank Green Home Loan using this form to receive a promotional code via email.

Step 3: Apply for a Home Loan online securely and with ease using your Singpass via the Maybank Home Loan online application. Enter the promotional code you received in your email when applying for a Maybank Home Loan online.

Additional Considerations To Take Before Signing Up For A Home Loan

Beyond looking at your green loan options, do be reminded to consider various other options before committing to a residential property loan.

These include considering whether you can afford to service the monthly repayment instalments and assessing if you are able to meet the prevailing Total Debt Servicing Ratio threshold before committing to any property purchase.

You also need to check if you can meet the prevailing Mortgage Servicing Ratio limit before committing to a purchase.

Featured Image Credit: WOHA

Read Also: Refinancing VS Repricing Your Home Loan: What Are The Differences?