Friday, August 8, 2008

Rates on fixed loans start to fall

It seems bank customers have felt for some months that the Reserve Bank (RBA) might be about to cut interest rates if figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) are any indication.

Data released this week shows 11.7 per cent of new mortgages approved in June were at a fixed rate, the lowest market share for this type of product since October 2005. That was a big fall from March when fixed rate loans commanded 23.9 per cent of all new housing finance commitments.

The ABS data showed fixed rate loan numbers have fallen for three successive months, even though the major banks have lifted their standard variable lending rates independent of increases by the RBA.

In response to this falling demand for fixed rate products, ANZ Bank and Westpac Bank have both lowered their rates on a number fixed rate terms - up to half of one per cent on on ANZ’s seven year term. However, ANZ says changes to fixed rates are due to a reduction in the cost of funding.

Will this influence the major banks to pass on rate cuts to variable rate mortgages when the RBA lowers rates next month? Don't bet your house on it.

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