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Lenders hike variable rates

New data has revealed that a significant number of lenders have quietly raised their variable mortgage rates in recent months.

Data provided to Mortgage Business by comparison website RateCity.com.au shows mortgage lenders increased rates on 45 variable home loans and cut rates on 24 loans since the beginning of the year.

The data also identified the top five highest rate hikes among Australian lenders since 5 January.

Easy Street Financial Services raised its Basic Variable Home Loan by 77 basis points, from 3.99 per cent to 4.76 per cent, while People’s Choice Credit Union hiked rates by 76 basis points on its Package Variable Home Loan ($150,000 to $250,000) from 4.29 per cent to 5.05 per cent.

Queensland Police Credit Union raised rates on its Classic Home Loan by 60 basis points, from 4.19 per cent to 4.79 per cent.

Finally, the well-publicised rate hike from Bank of Queensland earlier this month saw the regional bank lift its Clear Path Variable Rate Investment Loan by more than half a per cent, from 4.60 per cent to 5.14 per cent.

According to RateCity, all rates are accurate as at 19 April and may differ based on LVR for any given product. Some rate changes may be the result of a special rate offer coming to an end.

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Sally Tindall, money editor at RateCity.com.au, said movements are far more common than people think.

“Often a lender will change the rates on one or two of their products without anyone really noticing,” Ms Tindall said.

“For example, we’ve seen lenders lift rates on 45 variable products and cut rates on 24 loans since the start of the year,” she said.

“The difference with these small tweaks is that the changes aren’t across the board.”

Last November, the big banks hiked the rates of all their variable products for both owner-occupiers and investors, creating a media storm and prompting several smaller lenders to follow suit.

“It’s a reminder that people should keep an eye on their rate and the competition to make sure they are still getting the best deal available to them,” Ms Tindall said.

[Related: Rate hike will hurt investors in 2016]

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