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Home loan changes muted in past week

Weekly home loan report

Tuesday 7th March 2006

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Weekly Home Loan report: All eyes this week are on the Reserve Bank's monetary policy announcement on Thursday for its view on the economy - and more importantly when interest rates wills start falling.

The expectation is that the weak economic data showing a slowing economy will be enough to kick the bank into neutral. The move downhill to lower rates is still a number of months away.

With the RBNZ announcement imminent the number of rate changes have been small since our last report.

During the week there have been no increases and the only bank to move has been the National Bank which, late last week, dropped its six month and two year rates 10 and 5 points respectively. None of the rate cut leaders, such as BNZ and Kiwibank, changed rates.

However quite a few of the non-bank lenders have tweaked their fixed rates. We say tweaked as in many cases the changes have been five basis points.

What's the best deal at the moment? Well the issue many people want answered is what term should they refinance on?

There are a number of answers here. If you take the line that the RBNZ will start easing rates later this year a rate of around 18-months will see you through to another refinance period window, and at that future point loans will be significantly cheaper.

If you prefer more long-term certainty then going for a longer term, say five-years, has merit.

As we pointed out last week five-year rates are just below their historical four-year average, while shorter-term rates are higher than the average.

One-year fixed rates currently range from a low of 7.60% (Southern Cross) up to 8.40%. The smaller banks are in the 8.25% to 8.35% range while the big banks are around the 8.40% mark.

Southern Cross also has the lowest two-year rate at 7.75%. The second-tier banks are not far off this mark with rates around 7.80%, while the big banks are at the 7.95% mark.

In the five-year market Bank Direct is the lowest with 7.50%, but most of the big banks are just 5 basis points higher so there is not much in it. The outlier is ANZ that has a rate of 7.65%.

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