Taking a loan in UAE? Do it now before interest rates rise further, residents told

The UAE Central Bank increased the base rate of its overnight deposit facility by 75 basis points



by

Waheed Abbas

Published: Thu 28 Jul 2022, 5:26 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Jul 2022, 10:18 PM

Interest rates are expected to increase further in the coming months, therefore, it’s high time for the residents to obtain loans and mortgages.

The UAE Central Bank late on Wednesday increased the base rate of its overnight deposit facility by 75 basis points in line with the US Federal Reserve’s rate hike earlier in the day to cool inflation in the North American country.

Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer at Century Financial, said consumers may begin to feel the sting of higher interest rates. “Markets are expecting a series of rate increases this year which would then start aggressively affecting consumers purchasing decisions,” he said.

Since the UAE currency is pegged to the dollar, the central bank usually follows the Fed's policy on rates.

“In order to combat rising inflation, it is anticipated that Fed would hike interest rates going forward. In a rising interest rate environment, consumers who have planned to take out personal or auto loans could consider taking them sooner when interest rates are relatively low and yet to rise further. If the loans are taken out at a later date when interest rates have risen more, the monthly payments would increase,” he said.

Anish Mehta, a finance professional and past chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) – Dubai Chapter, said to beat rising inflation, both US and UAE central banks are likely to hike rates further.

Opt for fixed loans

Anish Mehta
Anish Mehta

Mehta said consumers must do their financial planning and restructuring. “Those who have home loans at variable interest rates can lock in their interest rate a fixed rate of interest. With the increased lending rates, banks have to increase their saving rates. Therefore, it's time for consumers to shop around and switch their savings to banks who give higher interest on their investments,” he said.

ICAI Dubai’s ex-chairman suggested that consumers should also minimise or repay their credit card and other loans outstanding as otherwise, they have to pay higher interest which will delay their repayments of principal amount.

Vijay Valecha
Vijay Valecha

Vijay Valecha advised UAE consumers to opt for fixed long-term loans rather than floating rate payments to reduce the impact of the rate hike.

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“Consumers should opt for fixed long-term mortgage loans as it helps them to lock in at a lower rate now. As far as fixed-rate mortgages go, a Central bank rate increase does not directly impact these longer-term loans, but it does influence movement. However, floating rates do change as the market interest rate increases.”

He added consumers who have taken fixed loans before the first-rate hike in March are the ones to benefit as they sealed in at a lower interest rate for their loans. However, if consumers have variable-rate loans, they would be at a disadvantage as Fed rate hikes are immediately going to impact them.