Owners are facing increasing hurdles refinancing their homes because of falling property values, stringent definitions in what constitutes income and demanding paperwork.
Owners seeking refinancing have also to deal with smaller loan quantum as a result of conservative property valuations.
More home owners are also opting to switch from floating to fixed rates due to rising interest rates, or re-price to lower rates anticipating the Sibor (Singapore interbank offered rate) to spike further.
Banks are not disclosing numbers, but said the percentage of customers unable to refinance is insignificant.
According to an independent mortgage adviser, about 25 out of 300 cases it advised in the last six months could not refinance due to their inability to meet either the bank's credit assessment criteria or the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR).
Refinancing may not work for everyone. Incurring additional fees or shorter loan tenure with higher monthly repayments may just put some owners off.
Since the TDSR framework kicked in, refinancing has become a headache for many, even with the three-year grace period for mandatory compliance until June 30, 2017.
For example, those who had funded their property with the help of a guarantor in the past are also now required to remove the guarantor as a mortgagor.
Loans with tenures based on the younger applicant's age will become subject to income-weighted age computation. The inclusion of other purchases such as commercial properties also affects loan limits, especially the stricter 30% mortgage servicing ratio which applies to owners of HDB flats and executive condominiums.
Meanwhile, not every bank has adopted in entirety the list of financial assets suggested by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Some banks do not recognize stocks deposited with the Central Depository, others do not accept stocks held with foreign exchanges, yet others do not accept cash held jointly with a third-party non-mortgagor.
You get the picture. Generally it means loan limitation and stricter credit assessment criteria.
Though some observers link such refinancing issues to higher possibility of default risks closer to the 2017 deadline, banks say it is far-fetched to presume so, as the connection is tenuous.
According to MAS, the percentage of borrowers that currently breach TDSR limits is not high.