Rise in home loan interest rates may hit him bad

Man burned by bad investment worried about rise in interest rates

He took out loans and mortgaged his three-bedroom condominium unit to invest in property overseas, thinking that he could get rich quick.

But Mr Lim ended up over $600,000 in debt and with a $400,000 mortgage when the overseas developer went missing in 2011.

Two years ago, Mr Lim approached Credit Counselling Singapore, which helps people with debt problems. They helped him negotiate a monthly payment plan of $8,000 to creditors for a term of seven years to pay off his debt.

Mr Lim is also servicing a mortgage of about $2,200 at an interest rate of around 1.8 per cent. Mr Lim's family of four live on a tight budget and an increase in mortgage rates is the last thing they need.

But following the United States' Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates last month, home loan and mortgage rates in Singapore are also set to rise. 

Home loan and mortgage rates are usually based on the Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (Sibor), which moves in tandem with US interest rates.

"I hope the increase (in interest rates) is not steep, one per cent a year is still all right and we can stomach that," said Mr Lim.

"But if it's three per cent... I will probably have to ask my children to chip in more."

Mr Lim's two older children are working and help shoulder about 35 per cent of the household monthly expenditure.

Mr Lim declined to reveal his salary, but said he is only able to make the various bill payments with the help of his children.

His youngest child will complete her university education this year and he hopes that she, too, will be able to help out financially when she enters the workforce.

He said: "I'm their father, I will feel bad asking them (to contribute more money) for this mistake. Our budget is very tight and we're already stretched to the limit. We have already cut down to the bare bones, no restaurants, less entertainment and less shopping."