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Friday, September 18, 2009

ING: It’s time to opt for fixed-rate home loans

PETALING JAYA: It may be time for property investors to consider managing their long-term investment with the stability of fixed-rate home loans, says ING Insurance Bhd chief investment officer Mark Wang.

With the current economic downturn, many institutions, including ING Insurance, were offering highly competitive fixed rates for home loans, he said.

“Fixed-rate mortgage can reduce uncertainty and lock in (one’s) borrowing cost.

“ING Insurance is offering a fixed rate of 4.85% per annum on home loans locked in for 30 years, which is probably one of the most competitive rates for mortgages in the market today and our lowest fixed rate (on mortgages) in over two decades,” he said yesterday.

Wang was speaking at a session on Smart Financing For Property Investment at a media luncheon talk hosted by ING Insurance.

On the benefits of fixed-rate mortgages over floating rates, Wang said it was generally better for homeowners to stick to a fixed-rate mortgage.

“But if an investor had the expertise and was managing a porfolio of properties, then perhaps a floating rate could be advantageous,” he said.

He added that it was also important to take into consideration the floating rate when buying a property.

Wang said with fixed-rate mortgages currently at an all-time low, it might be worthwhile for property investors or homeowners on high floating rates to refinance their properties at a lower fixed rate.

On ING Insurance’s fixed-rate mortgage, he said it currently represented less that 10% of ING’s business.

“We see our fixed-rate mortgage as a value-added offering to our existing clients with insurance coverage, but it is also now extended to the public,” he said.

ING Insurance chief operating officer Isold Heemstra touched on the importance of structuring one’s financial needs according to the different stages of one’s life.

“Only about 5% of the working population do their own financial planning. The rest are likely to seek advice from experts,” he said.

By The Star

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