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More short-term rate falls

By Janine Ogier

Tuesday 21st February 2006

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Weekly home loan report: The momentum of fixed rate cuts slowed last week, then picked up for the beginning of this week, with a plethora of one-year rate decreases emerging for the first time in ages.

Many lenders announced cuts over the weekend and Monday, with banks such as ASB, BNZ, Bank Direct and Kiwibank leading the way to trim short- and long-term rates.

NBNZ introduced a 21-month rate of 8.15% last week and cut it to 7.95% this week. National and ANZ dropped fixed rates over the week.

Amongst non-bank lenders, many decreases have been recorded too. Those cutting include Sovereign, Asteron, Argosy, Pioneer, Tasman, Resi, Mortgage Finance, Housing Corp, Olympic, AXA, NZ Finance and Pacific.

Public Trust's announcement of lower rates was accompanied by some hoopla about the cut to its one-year fixed rate to 7.99%, down from 8.30%.

The move significantly undercuts those currently offered by the five major banks and is lower than Kiwibank. The closest rate of any bank is Bank Direct's 8.35%.

It seems like a challenge to others to follow suit in the short-term market.

Twenty-one lenders trimmed their one-year rates over the week.

But the range of one-year rates remains between the 7.6% offered by Southern Cross to 9.1% from GEM Home Loans.

Elsewhere in the marketplace, variable rates still start at the 8.50% offered by Napier Building Society and spread to the 9.75% recorded by Headstart. The major banks are clustered at the 9.55% level.

Two-year fixed terms continue to be stacked between the 7.75% offered by Southern Cross to 9.25% from Headstart, but there were 20 decreases over the week.

Three-year rates now vary between the 7.6% offered by Kiwibank, Bank Direct and Mortgage Finance to Headstart's 9.15%. Again, 20 lenders cut their rates.

In the four-year part of the market, Superbank offers the lowest rate of 7.8% and the competitors are now in a narrow range up to 8.15% from NZ Finance. There were six rate cuts and one increase.

For five years, rates now differ between the 7.45% offered by NZ Home Loans and Sovereign to Gem Home Loans' 8.55%. There were 22 rate decreases.

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