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Friday, January 14, 2011

Ringgit loans for British properties

PETALING JAYA: Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) expects its Overseas Mortgage Loan Scheme, the bank's first ringgit-denominated mortgage facility for property purchase in Britain, to boost its home financing division.

With the new product, the division is expected to grow more than 13% in its current financial year ending June 30, 2011.

The mortgage was designed for high net worth customers interested in buying properties in Britain due to the favourable currency exchange rate, said Maybank community financial services deputy president and head Lim Hong Tat in a statement yesterday.

London offered attractive advantages for property purchase to non-residents, he said, adding that the bank had worked with international real estate agencies to assist customers on British regulations.

The ringgit mortgage facility will finance completed or residential and commercial properties under-construction in London covering prime locations such as the city of London, Westminster, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea.

Key features of the loan scheme include repayment in ringgit, high margin of financing of up to 85%, flexible repayment and long tenure of up to 30 years or 70 years of age whichever is earlier.

“This milestone mortgage scheme brings tremendous savings to customers as the unique proposition of this loan is Malaysians being able to borrow in ringgit for the purchase of property in London.

“Borrowing in ringgit will protect customers from currency fluctuations on their monthly loan repayments and savings as the pound sterling is anticipated to rise against the ringgit this year,” said Lim.

A banking analyst said the facility provided investors with protection against currency fluctuations.

Asked if other banks would offer similar facilities, the analyst said: “The banking industry is constantly coming up with ways to boost their margins and remain competitive.”

According to Maybank, Malaysians purchasing properties in London have to obtain financing from Britain-based banks and pay the monthly installments in pound, thus exposing them to exchange fluctuations.

Financing from Britain-based banks for Malaysians is only available for “buy-to-let purposes” the property must be purchased for investment purposes and not for own occupation.

Lim said the facility was offered in the form of term loan, overdraft or a combination of term loan and overdraft.

“We anticipate a take-up of RM60mil within the next six months. This is in view of the attractive property valuation in London and overseas buying interest which will be before April when the new 5% sales tax is imposed for properties above 1mil.

“The current strong ringgit against the pound is also another factor that will encourage Malaysians to buy before the anticipated rise in the second half of the year,” he said.

Lim said the people can enquire about this new facility at any Maybank branch in Malaysia or in London.

By The Star

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