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More rate increases flow through

Mortgage rates are continuing to increase even though wholesale rates fell slightly at the end of last week.

By Maria Scott 

The lowest rates in the market at present are from smaller lenders; NZ Mortgage Funds has the lowest two-year fix at 8.99% while closest competitors in this slot, while the next lowest is sitting at 9.05%. However, the positions are changing as all lenders are increasing fixed rates, pretty much across the board at the moment.

Among larger lenders, in the popular two-year slot all but BNZ, with its Standard and FlyBuys products is charging 9.40%. BNZ is charging 9.49%. Over three years, the same BNZ loans are the cheapest of the big bunch at 9.19%. The other major lenders are charging a whisker more at 9.20% for three year fixes. Over five years ASB is cheapest at 8.90%, compared with 8.95% from ANZ, National Bank and Westpac. BNZ is charging 8.99% on Standard and Fly Buys loans. BNZ's flagship 'classic' two year rate is 9.39% now.

Not all borrowers will be able to choose a loan by rate, however. Those who have missed payments in the past, do not have established earnings records or want to borrow an unusually large sum are likely to find it more difficult to obtain finance in the current market and to be asked to pay a premium over standard rates.

The market may not have settled fully after the latest round of changes that started about 10 days ago. Wholesale rates are likely to remain volatile because of the continued uncertainties in overseas markets about how badly economies will be hit by the US-led subprime lending crisis.

In New Zealand, many economic indicators point to strength in the economy. With an election due next year, economists expect Government money to be pumped into the economy, possibly fuelling inflation and preventing falls in domestic borrowing costs.