Non-majors dominate rate cutting

Non-major banks have continued to push rates lower in the home loan market, according to a new report by RateCity.

While the majority of rate movements were led by the majors in the previous quarter, the report showed that most of the activity was by the smaller players between October and December.

Three-year fixed rates were cut by 22 lenders, while five-year fixed rates were cut by 16 lenders and one-year fixed rates were cut by 12 lenders.

Only five lenders increased their one-year fixed rates, while three lenders increased their three-year fixed rates and two increased their five-year fixed rates.

A total of 10 lenders cut their standard variable rates, while none made increases.

The report also showed that the average variable and fixed rates all decreased slightly over the December quarter, with most of the movement among longer-term fixed rates.

Five-year fixed rates saw the largest cuts – down 0.08 per cent to 5.18 per cent. Three-year fixed rates and variable rates decreased 0.04 per cent to 4.93 per cent and 5.33 per cent respectively.

One-year fixed rates saw the smallest decrease – down 0.03 per cent to 4.74 per cent.

RateCity spokesperson Peter Arnold said 2014 was a year of some really aggressive fixed-rate pricing.

“Fixed rates again saw the largest cuts, continuing the trend of ‘lower for longer’, [and] suggesting that a cash rate hike might still be a way off,” he said.

“We generally see both increases and decreases in fixed-rate pricing, but there’s certainly been more cuts during the last quarter.”

Mr Arnold said Heritage Bank’s discount variable home loan rate of 4.39 per cent was one of the most popular rates during the quarter.

“[Online-only lender] Ubank cutting their variable rate last year to 4.46 per cent also caused a lot of interest among shoppers,” he said.

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