A number of Australian banks have started cutting their fixed home loan interest rates, as economists tip the Reserve Bank (RBA) will cut the cash rate later this year.
AMP Bank, Bank of Queensland (BOQ) and Macquarie Bank were among the lenders who reduced their fixed rates over December and January.
According to Mozo, these cuts ranged from 0.10 percentage points to 0.76 percentage points across a range of fixed-rate terms.
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Macquarie, Australia’s fifth-largest lender, recently slashed all of its fixed rates by up to 0.56 per cent. Its 3-year fixed rate was reduced to 5.99 per cent for customers with a deposit of 30 per cent or more.
Mozo money expert Rachel Wastell said the cuts were a sign that banks believed the rate-hiking cycle had peaked.
“As the expectation of the timing, and number, of future RBA rate cuts firms up, fixed rates are already tumbling, but there is no certainty as to when the first [RBA] rate cut will be,” Wastell told Yahoo Finance.
RateCity research director Sally Tindall said the tide was now turning for fixed rates, with 15 lenders cutting at least one fixed rate over the month, while eight lenders had hiked.
“Looking at the data, broken down into fixed-rate loan terms, the majority of cuts have been to both 2- and 3-year fixed rates,” Tindall told Yahoo Finance.
Warning for Aussies fixing
Wastell said borrowers looking for stability in their repayments could consider locking in a fixed rate lower than their current variable rate, but warned there were risks to consider, particularly given the expected rate cuts.
“If the RBA cuts the cash rate and variable rates drop in response, the fixed rate that’s lower now could end up higher later on,” she said.
“On the other hand, sticking with a higher variable rate could mean paying more interest than a fixed rate while waiting for that first RBA rate cut.”
More economists and experts are forecasting the first rate cut will not come before August this year.
Commonwealth Bank’s economic team think it’ll be in September, while Westpac is forecasting an August cut. NAB thinks there will be a cut in November, and ANZ also thinks it will be in the fourth quarter of the year.
Lowest interest rates
According to RateCity, the lowest fixed rate is currently 5.48 per cent for a 3-year term, while the lowest variable rate is 0.27 per cent higher at 5.75 per cent.
Here are the lowest fixed rates on offer:
Here are the lowest variable rates on offer: