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HOME loan interest rates continue to fall but many borrowers are resisting fixing their loans as they expect the cash rate to tumble further.

But those mortgage holders who locked a rate in just 12 months ago have come out in front.

Data from financial comparison website RateCity shows the interest rates on more than 260 fixed loans have fallen in April alone while more than 50 variable loan rates have also dropped.

Customers with the average $300,000 30-year loan who locked in their rate one year ago

– when the average one-year fixed rate was 4.83 per cent – would have saved themselves more than $1000 over those who keep their interest rate variable.

The average variable mortgage rate in 2014 was more than five per cent.

Competition remains rife with about one dozen lenders offering fixed rate loans with a ‘three’ in front.

ME Bank‘s Head of Home Loans Patrick Nolan said the bank’s latest offering of a three-year fixed rate loan at 3.99 per cent is the lowest rate the bank has ever offered.

He said Australians remained hesitant to lock in their loans because many people expect further rate falls this year and also did not like the rigid nature of fixed rates.

‘Customers sometimes are concerned that there is not so much flexibility with fixed rate offers,” Mr Nolan said.

‘Some of the banks including ourselves have changed that … if you take out a fixed-rate loan (at ME Bank) you can pay up to an additional $30,000 (during the fixed period.)”

He suggests customers unsure about signing up to fixed rates to lock in a portion of the loan and leave the rest on a variable rate.

Figures from Australia’s biggest mortgage broker Australian Finance Group show in March of all new loans written 14 per cent of borrowers choose to fix, compared to 24 per cent in March last year.

HSBC’s chief economist Paul Bloxham expects the RBA to deliver another cut this year and doesn’t expect lenders to move down much further on their deals.

‘We are very, very close to the bottom in terms of the rates available in variable rates and fixed rates,” he said.

RateCity’s spokesman Peter Arnold said there’s plenty of ‘hot deals’ available for customers.

‘We are seeing a lot of competition for those really low rates, especially by smaller lenders,” he said.

‘If you do look beyond the big banks there are some very low rates out there.’

The Australian Securities Exchange’s RBA rate indicator which uses market expectations to predict a change to the official cash rate has forecast a 60 per cent chance it will fall by 25 basis points to two per cent.


Posted by Sophie Elsworth – News Limited Network on 19th April, 2015