Earlier this month, the UAE Central Bank issued a formal communication announcing that banks can no longer charge a 3% early settlement fee for borrowers who want to exit their mortgage early. We look into this change and what it could mean for those of you with a mortgage now.
The Central Bank announced that going forward, banks can only charge borrowers a 1% early settlement fee on the outstanding mortgage amount or AED 10,000 – whichever is less.
The update from the Central Bank also indicated that anyone who has been made to pay the 3% settlement fee is eligible for a refund from their bank, within 30 days. It is still to be seen how the banks will interpret this and how they act upon it, but we would urge you to contact your bank if you believe this applies to you.
In 2018, the UAE Central Bank had announced that lenders could charge up to 3% of the outstanding home loan amount to clients who wanted to exit their mortgage early. The banks had to prove financial loss in order to charge the full 3%. The exit penalties varied from one bank to the other as they all implemented the ruling in different ways, with some even implementing the charge when clients went on to sell their properties.
This change in legislation heavily affected those who were coming to the end of a fixed rate period and were considering a buyout or remortgage. The change made it a lot less favorable to switch your mortgage to another lender to get a better rate or product as, in most cases, the costs of doing so outweigh the possible savings that could be had by moving. For many this meant being locked into uncompetitive rates.
What does the most recent change mean for you?
The recent news from the Central Bank is positive. It now opens up opportunities for those of you who have been paying a higher rate of interest on your mortgage to find a better deal, and if your lender is one of those that applied the 3% early settlement fee when selling property, then this update will make a big difference for you when it comes to selling.
As we have also seen interest rate cuts this year, the most recent cut being just last month, banks are now being pushed to be more competitive with their products. Since the beginning of the year, we have seen a decrease in mortgage rates.
All of this is great news, especially if you have been stuck with a mortgage product which does not reflect the changing market, as you can now once again consider a remortgage or buyout at a more competitive rate.