THE nation’s billion-dollar home loan war has intensified with HSBC slashing its variable rate to the lowest among the retail banks.
The cutting of their variable rate loan by 0.59 of a percentage point to 4.75 per cent days ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s first monthly meeting next Tuesday has signalled that the mortgage war is on.
The rate is the lowest of any branch-based retail bank.
Interest rates have remained at historically low levels and just last week one of the nation’s biggest lenders, National Australia Bank, dropped its four-year fixed term home loan rate to its lowest level in 20 years – 5.44 per cent.
Financial comparison website Mozo’s spokeswoman Kirsty Lamont said this latest move by HSBC showed the fight between financial institutions had geared up a notch.
“The year 2014 is really shaping up as the year of the borrower, there’s some red-hot rates on the market right now,” she said.
“There’s signs that frenzy of competition that we are seeing right now could turn into a real prolonged home loan war.”
“It’s unusual when most commentators are predicting that the cash rate will remain fairly stable,” she said.
“What we are also seeing is the big four banks are really fighting to retain their market share.”
NAB and ANZ have the lowest standard variable rates among the big four banks at 5.88 per cent, followed by the Commonwealth Bank (5.9 per cent) and Westpac (5.98 per cent).
HSBC also dropped its two, three and four-year fixed rates by up to 70 basis points. Its one-year fixed rate is its lowest of any fixed terms at 4.49 per cent.
Head of mortgages for HSBC Australia, Alice Del Vecchio, said their move to slash rates was out of the ordinary.
“We’ve definitely gone out earlier than in previous years because our customers are telling us that they are taking the time to look at their loans and make sure they’ve got the best loan that they can possibly get,” she said.
“We thought we’d head out this year and give customers and our competitors something to think about.”
STANDARD VARIABLE HOME LOAN RATE OFFERINGS BY THE BIG FOUR
ANZ (Variable Rate Home Loan) 5.88% 6.4% -0.52%
Commonwealth (Standard Variable 5.9% 6.4% -0.5%
NAB (Tailored Home Loan) 5.88% 6.38% -0.5%
Westpac (Rocket Repay Home Loan) 5.98% 6.51% -0.53%