Banks cut fixed home loan rates
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Several major banks have cut their fixed home loan interest rates, an indication they expect a fall in variable rates in the coming months.
Westpac has lowered its rate on two-year fixed rate mortgages by 0.4 percentage points to 4.99 per cent, for customers on its premier advantage package.
The new rate is the lowest offered by Westpac on a two-year fixed rate since April 2009, the bank said.
Westpac subsidiary St George has gone further, cutting rates on its one, three, four and five-year fixed rate mortgages.
That takes its fixed rates to between 5.15 per cent and 5.69 per cent, for customers on St George's advantage package.
CUA is also offering lower fixed rates for mortgages, with a new home loan product launched on Thursday with a 5.3 per cent three-year fixed rate.
The four major banks are currently offering standard variable home loan rates of between 6.38 per cent and 6.51 per cent.
Home loan broker Loan Market said the move by the major lenders indicates they are anticipating further rate cuts by the central bank in 2013.
"Fixed rate products are currently priced at a level that variable rates may not reach for several months, even with the help of RBA rate cuts," Loan Market spokesman Paul Smith said.
"It's been highlighted over the past few weeks that the cost of funds for lenders are easing, but whether or not they significantly trim variable rates remains to be seen."
At its first meeting for 2013, the Reserve Bank of Australia board this week left the official interest rate at three per cent.