A major bank has won the Canstar Bank of the Year for First Home Buyers, while five separate institutions were labelled Customer-Owned Institution of the Year.
ANZ took home the title for the second consecutive year.
The awards reviewed 79 lenders and 1,250 loans for first home buyers. To be eligible for the award, institutions must have face-to-face staff available and offer a full range of banking products.
Institutions were also measured on accessibility, “the number of branches and mobile lenders in every state across all institutions”, as well as the loan application process. The methodology noted if an application could be performed online (via a branch or a broker) as well as the process of online pre-approval, the availability of conditional approval and instant valuation.
Canstar identified ANZ’s “large network of branches and mobile lenders” and its ability to provide first home buyers with access to specialists when required as a winning trait.
Its Breakfree Package home loan was also lauded for its lower variable interest rate than the other major bank’s comparable packages.
Newcastle Permanent won the Customer-Owned Institution of the Year in New South Wales, while People’s Choice Credit Union took the title for Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Heritage Bank received a nod in Queensland, UniBank and Teachers Mutual Bank were crowned in Western Australia and B&E Personal Banking was celebrated in Tasmania.
According to Canstar’s review of lenders for the awards, 70.89 per cent of lenders (56) will allow a first home buyers grant to be used as a deposit, while a financial gift is accepted by 87.34 per cent (69) and 63.29 per cent (50) will allow a guarantor to provide a deposit.
No establishment fee was a common perk, listed by eight lenders including Bank Australia, Bank SA, Suncorp Bank, G&C Mutual Bank and Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank.
Discounted health insurance was also a usual suspect, appearing in the first home buyer offerings at Suncorp Bank, Australian Unity, CUA and G&C Mutual.
Eighteen lenders offered discounted introductory rates.
Interest rate offers
Canstar noted that “very few loans” are available for first home buyers exclusively, but found that the average variable interest rate for all loans analysed ranged from 4.48 per cent p.a. for a $350,000 loan to 4.54 per cent p.a. for a $750,000 loan.
The minimum rate was 3.44 per cent p.a. for loans of $350,000 and 3.54 per cent p.a. for loans of $750,000.
Canstar also found that the maximum rate was 6.01 per cent p.a. for all loan sizes.