Home Loans: Throughout October home loan fixed rates continued their downward march, with the Big Four (with the exception of Westpac) reducing their rates by up to 26 basis points. Two home loan providers, Better Option and Easy Street, both slashed their 1 year fixed rates to 5.89%, with Better Option also offering the same rate for 2 and 3 year terms. A new provider listed on Mozo, Mortgage Simple, came in with the market’s lowest variable rate at 6.57%.
Personal Loans: Over the last year, variable rates for personal loans have crept up with the average secured personal loan rate now 6 basis points higher, and unsecured rates a whole 39 basis points higher, perhaps reflecting an increased premium for risk. Greater Building Society sharpened its rates across all personal loans, reducing their unsecured fixed rate from 13.15% to 12.99% and now offering 8.99% for fixed new car loans.
Credit Cards: Credit card rates have been quiet recently with the only point of particular interest being Commonwealth Bank launching its Diamond Awards Credit Card. Diamond Awards has an annual fee of $425 and an interest rate of 20.74% for purchases, but you can earn up to 3 points per dollar when using the American Express card, and has a high points cap of 1 million per year.
Term Deposits: Anticipating the November RBA rate cut, term deposit rates moved sharply down. Looking over the last year paints a stark picture. While the cash rate rose 0.25% between October 2011 and a year earlier, average term deposit rates were down 0.53% for 1 year investments, 0.84% for 3 years, and 0.70% for five year terms.
Savings Accounts: In contrast to term deposits, at call deposit rates have been increasingly generous. As competition intensified the average rate went from 4.94% to 5.37% over the last year, an increase of 43 basis points compared with the cash rate’s increase of 25 basis points over the same period. Early indications are that this may not last with one of the main players, UBank, cutting its USaver bonus rate from 6.51% to 6.11% following the November 2011 cash rate cut.
Check back next month as we bring you highlights of the fallout from the latest Reserve Bank cash rate cut!