Westpac Group cuts new customer rates in a bid to boost its home loan book

Westpac Group cuts new customer rates in a bid to boost its home loan book

Australia’s second largest bank, Westpac, has today cut its basic variable rate to 2.69 per cent, but the offer is solely reserved for new customers with a deposit of more than 30 per cent.

Westpac’s new rate is now the lowest variable home loan offered by a big four bank.

Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan changes:

Loan to value ratio (LVR) Old rate New rate Difference
Less than 70% 2.93% 2.69% -0.24%
Above 70% 3.03% 2.79% -0.24%

Note: above rates are advertised rates for owner-occupiers paying principal and interest who are new customers to Westpac.

Westpac Group’s St George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA also cut several new customer rates today including:

  • St George and Bank of Melbourne are now offering variable rates from 2.59% for new customers with a 60% LVR (0.10% cut).
  • BankSA is offering variable rates from 2.64% for new customers (0.10% cut).

The changes come as Westpac Group posted a drop in their home loan book, according to APRA’s monthly banking statistics for April 2020 (released May 29).

RateCity research director, Sally Tindall, said the cuts from Westpac weren’t unexpected.

“Yesterday Westpac had the highest basic variable rate out of the big four banks. Today it has the lowest,” she said.

“Today’s rate cut is designed to get new business in the door. Westpac Group’s home loan book has fallen month-on-month, according to the latest APRA statistics. They need new customers to keep moving in the right direction.

“While these rate cuts are reserved for new customers, if you’ve already got a loan with Westpac you can still pick up the phone and ask for a rate cut. If you’re paying more than what the bank is offering new customers for exactly the same loan, you’ve got the perfect bargaining chip.

Today’s rate cuts are further evidence of the competitiveness of the market.

“Increasingly banks are reserving their lowest rates for new customers who have a decent amount of equity up their sleeve,” she said.

“The three lowest variable rates on the RateCity database are reserved for owner occupiers, paying principal and interest who have at least 30 to 40 per cent deposit.

“If you’re an owner-occupier who has made decent headway into your loan and still has a steady job, you are in the drivers’ seat in this current market,” she said.

Lowest variable rates on RateCity

Lender Loan Advertised rate Loan to value ratio required
Reduce Home Loans Low Rider

2.29%

70%

Homestar Finance Star Gold

2.29%

60%

Freedom Lend Freedom Variable

2.29%

60%

Big Four Bank lowest rates

Lender Advertised variable Advertised

2-yr fixed

Advertised

3-yr fixed

CBA

2.79%

2.29%

2.29%

Westpac

2.69%

2.19%

2.19%

NAB

2.84%

2.29%

2.29%

ANZ

2.72%

2.29%

2.29%

Note: Rates are for owner occupiers paying principal and interest. Westpac’s rates are for customers with a loan-to-value ratio of less than 70 per cent.

APRA monthly banking statistics - Loans to households: home loans

Bank % share of home loans among all ADI’s

(April 2020)

Monthly change in bank’s home loan book % (March to April 2020) Year on year change in home loan book % (April 19 - April 20)
CBA

25.70%

0.40%

4.74%

Westpac Group

23.19%

-0.31%

-0.64%

NAB

14.94%

0.19%

0.12%

ANZ Group

14.05%

0.27%

-1.09%

ING Bank (Australia)

2.93%

0.14%

5.02%

Macquarie Bank

2.77%

2.38%

33.03%

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

2.52%

0.47%

8.30%

Suncorp-Metway

2.46%

-0.20%

0.16%

Bank of Queensland

1.61%

-1.73%

0.61%

HSBC Bank Australia

1.23%

1.23%

20.51%

Notes: Data is from APRA monthly banking statistics, released 29 May 2020 and includes all authorised deposit taking institutions (ADI's). Includes owner occupier and investor home loans. The percentage share of home loans does not include loans from non-ADI lenders.

Did you find this helpful? Why not share this news?

Advertisement

RateCity

Money Health Newsletter

Subscribe for news, tips and expert opinions to help you make smarter financial decisions

By submitting this form, you agree to the RateCity Privacy Policy, Terms of Use and Disclaimer.

Advertisement

Learn more about home loans

What do people do with a Macquarie Bank reverse?

There are a number of ways people use a Macquarie Bank reverse mortgage. Below are some reasons borrowers tend to release their home’s equity via a reverse mortgage:

  • To top up superannuation or pension income to pay for monthly bills;
  • To consolidate and repay high-interest debt like credit cards or personal loans;
  • To fund renovations, repairs or upgrades to their home
  • To help your children or grandkids through financial difficulties. 

While there are no limitations on how you can use a Macquarie reverse mortgage loan, a reverse mortgage is not right for all borrowers. Reverse mortgages compound the interest, which means you end up paying interest on your interest. They can also affect your entitlement to things like the pension It’s important to think carefully, read up and speak with your family before you apply for a reverse mortgage.

When do mortgage payments start after settlement?

Generally speaking, your first mortgage payment falls due one month after the settlement date. However, this may vary based on your mortgage terms. You can check the exact date by contacting your lender.

Usually your settlement agent will meet the seller’s representatives to exchange documents at an agreed place and time. The balance purchase price is paid to the seller. The lender will register a mortgage against your title and give you the funds to purchase the new home.

Once the settlement process is complete, the lender allows you to draw down the loan. The loan amount is debited from your loan account. As soon as the settlement paperwork is sorted, you can collect the keys to your new home and work your way through the moving-in checklist.

Remaining loan term

The length of time it will take to pay off your current home loan, based on the currently-entered mortgage balance, monthly repayment and interest rate.

When does Commonwealth Bank charge an early exit fee?

When you take out a fixed interest home loan with the Commonwealth Bank, you’re able to lock the interest for a particular period. If the rates change during this period, your repayments remain unchanged. If you break the loan during the fixed interest period, you’ll have to pay the Commonwealth Bank home loan early exit fee and an administrative fee.

The Early Repayment Adjustment (ERA) and Administrative fees are applicable in the following instances:

  • If you switch your loan from fixed interest to variable rate
  • When you apply for a top-up home loan
  • If you repay over and above the annual threshold limit, which is $10,000 per year during the fixed interest period
  • When you prepay the entire outstanding loan balance before the end of the fixed interest duration.

The fee calculation depends on the interest rates, the amount you’ve repaid and the loan size. You can contact the lender to understand more about what you may have to pay. 

What are the features of home loans for expats from Westpac?

If you’re an Australian citizen living and working abroad, you can borrow to buy a property in Australia. With a Westpac non-resident home loan, you can borrow up to 80 per cent of the property value to purchase a property whilst living overseas. The minimum loan amount for these loans is $25,000, with a maximum loan term of 30 years.

The interest rates and other fees for Westpac non-resident home loans are the same as regular home loans offered to borrowers living in Australia. You’ll have to submit proof of income, six-month bank statements, an employment letter, and your last two payslips. You may also be required to submit a copy of your passport and visa that shows you’re allowed to live and work abroad.

How is interest charged on a reverse mortgage from IMB Bank?

An IMB Bank reverse mortgage allows you to borrow against your home equity. You can draw down the loan amount as a lump sum, regular income stream, line of credit or a combination. The interest can either be fixed or variable. To understand the current rates, you can check the lender’s website.

No repayments are required as long as you live in the home. If you sell it or move to a senior living facility, the loan must be repaid in full. In some cases, this can also happen after you have died. Generally, the interest rates for reverse mortgages are higher than regular mortgage loans.

The interest is added to the loan amount and it is compounded. It means you’ll pay interest on the interest you accrue. Therefore, the longer you have the loan, the higher is the interest and the amount you’ll have to repay.

Why does Westpac charge an early termination fee for home loans?

The Westpac home loan early termination fee or break cost is applicable if you have a fixed rate home loan and repay part of or the whole outstanding amount before the fixed period ends. If you’re switching between products before the fixed period ends, you’ll pay a switching break cost and an administrative fee. 

The Westpac home loan early termination fee may not apply if you repay an amount below the prepayment threshold. The prepayment threshold is the amount Westpac allows you to repay during the fixed period outside your regular repayments.

Westpac charges this fee because when you take out a home loan, the bank borrows the funds with wholesale rates available to banks and lenders. Westpac will then work out your interest rate based on you making regular repayments for a fixed period. If you repay before this period ends, the lender may incur a loss if there is any change in the wholesale rate of interest.

What happens to my home loan when interest rates rise?

If you are on a variable rate home loan, every so often your rate will be subject to increases and decreases. Rate changes are determined by your lender, not the Reserve Bank of Australia, however often when the RBA changes the cash rate, a number of banks will follow suit, at least to some extent. You can use RateCity cash rate to check how the latest interest rate change affected your mortgage interest rate.

When your rate rises, you will be required to pay your bank more each month in mortgage repayments. Similarly, if your interest rate is cut, then your monthly repayments will decrease. Your lender will notify you of what your new repayments will be, although you can do the calculations yourself, and compare other home loan rates using our mortgage calculator.

There is no way of conclusively predicting when interest rates will go up or down on home loans so if you prefer a more stable approach consider opting for a fixed rate loan.

What is a variable home loan?

A variable rate home loan is one where the interest rate can and will change over the course of your loan. The rate is determined by your lender, not the Reserve Bank of Australia, so while the cash rate might go down, your bank may decide not to follow suit, although they do broadly follow market conditions. One of the upsides of variable rates is that they are typically more flexible than their fixed rate counterparts which means that a lot of these products will let you make extra repayments and offer features such as offset accounts.

What is the difference between fixed, variable and split rates?

Fixed rate

A fixed rate home loan is a loan where the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, usually between one and 15 years. The advantage of a fixed rate is that you know exactly how much your repayments will be for the duration of the fixed term. There are some disadvantages to fixing that you need to be aware of. Some products won’t let you make extra repayments, or offer tools such as an offset account to help you reduce your interest, while others will charge a significant break fee if you decide to terminate the loan before the fixed period finishes.

Variable rate

A variable rate home loan is one where the interest rate can and will change over the course of your loan. The rate is determined by your lender, not the Reserve Bank of Australia, so while the cash rate might go down, your bank may decide not to follow suit, although they do broadly follow market conditions. One of the upsides of variable rates is that they are typically more flexible than their fixed rate counterparts which means that a lot of these products will let you make extra repayments and offer features such as offset accounts.

Split rates home loans

A split loan lets you fix a portion of your loan, and leave the remainder on a variable rate so you get a bet each way on fixed and variable rates. A split loan is a good option for someone who wants the peace of mind that regular repayments can provide but still wants to retain some of the additional features variable loans typically provide such as an offset account. Of course, with most things in life, split loans are still a trade-off. If the variable rate goes down, for example, the lower interest rates will only apply to the section that you didn’t fix.

Does the Home Loan Rate Promise apply to discounted interest rate offers, such as honeymoon rates?

No. Temporary discounts to home loan interest rates will expire after a limited time, so they aren’t valid for comparing home loans as part of the Home Loan Rate Promise.

However, if your home loan has been discounted from the lender’s standard rate on a permanent basis, you can check if we can find an even lower rate that could apply to you.

How do I apply for Westpac’s first home buyer loan?

If you’re a first home buyer looking to apply for a home loan with Westpac, they offer an online home loan application. They suggest the application can be completed in about 20 minutes. Based on the information you provide, Westpac will advise you the amount you can borrow and the costs associated with any possible home loan. 

You can use Westpac’s online mortgage calculators to estimate your borrowing power. You can also work out the time it might take to save up for the deposit, and the size of your home loan repayments

When applying for a home loan with Westpac, you’re assigned a home finance manager who can address your concerns and provide information. The manager will also offer guidance on any government grants you may be eligible for. 

What is a standard variable rate (SVR)?

The standard variable rate (SVR) is the interest rate a lender applies to their standard home loan. It is a variable interest rate which is normally used as a benchmark from which they price their other variable rate home loan products.

A standard variable rate home loan typically includes most, if not all the features the lender has on offer, such as an offset account, but it often comes with a higher interest rate attached than their most ‘basic’ product on offer (usually referred to as their basic variable rate mortgage).

How do you determine which home loan rates/products I’m shown?

When you check your home loan rate, you’ll supply some basic information about your current loan, including the amount owing on your mortgage and your current interest rate.

We’ll compare this information to the home loan options in the RateCity database and show you which home loan products you may be eligible to apply for.