12 min read
Current NZ mortgage interest rates and 6 things to consider
Author: Peter Norris
Mortgage broker for over 10 years, property investor and Managing Director at Catalyst Financial
Reviewed by: Ed McKnight
Our Resident Economist, with a GradDipEcon and over five years at Opes Partners, is a trusted contributor to NZ Property Investor, Informed Investor, Stuff, Business Desk, and OneRoof.
What are the current mortgage interest rates in NZ?
Out of the 6 major banks ANZ currently offers the lowest 6 month fixed mortgage interest rate at 7.35%.
As at Wednesday 06 December 2023, the lowest 1 year fixed mortgage interest rate is 7.35%. This is currently offered by 2 banks. They are BNZ and KiwiBank.
Westpac currently offers the lowest 2 year fixed mortgage interest rate at 6.99%.
Westpac currently offers the lowest 3 year fixed mortgage interest rate at 6.75%.
Westpac currently offers the lowest 4 year fixed mortgage interest rate at 6.69%.
Westpac currently offers the lowest 5 year fixed mortgage interest rate at 6.49%.
These interest rates were last updated on Wednesday 06 December 2023.
The interest rates we've stated are accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing. Interest rates are ever-changing, so be sure to double check with your bank before locking in your interest rate.
More from Opes Partners:
#1 Fixed vs floating interest rate. What's right for me?
When you choose an interest rate you can either choose a fixed or a floating rate. You should get advice from your mortgage broker about which one to choose.
But it’s important to have an idea for yourself too.
Right now the floating rate is 1.22% higher than the 1 year fixed interest rate. The average floating rate is 8.55%, and the average 1 year fixed rate is 7.33%. This is current as at Friday 01 December 2023.
But, you get more flexibility to pay your loan off faster with this type of loan structure.
That means you could save a lot of interest if you pay your loan down aggressively.
Fixed versus floating? Which is right for me?
Most financial advisers will suggest a mix of the two.
Many borrowers fix a large part of their mortgage so they know what their repayment will be.
But they may also leave a part of the mortgage (e.g. 5-10%) on floating. If you want to make extra payments you can do that without paying early repayment fees.
To do this, many Kiwis will use a revolving credit or offset facility.
#2 ANZ vs ASB vs BNZ vs Westpac. Which bank will give me the lowest rate?
The bank with the lowest interest rates will change over time – and are not always easy to compare.
Here are some of the interest rates available from ANZ, BNZ and Westpac at the time of writing.
In this case, BNZ currently offers the lowest 1-year interest rate of 7.35%.
For the 2-year rate, Westpac is the lowest at 6.99%.
And Westpac has the lowest 5-year rate, currently sitting at 6.49%.
Important: Don't just choose the lowest interest rate. The rate you pick depends on where you think interest rates will go. More below.
A longer term interest rate may be the cheapest today, but in a few years you might find you're locked in to an expensive interest rate.
The key message is that banks offer different rates depending on how long you fix for.
You may also be able to negotiate to get a cheaper interest rate (more on that below).
This is where using a mortgage broker is crucial.
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#3 Can I negotiate the interest rate?
In the good old days, borrowers would negotiate hard to negotiate the interest rate.
This happens less today.
The banks are much more likely to stick to (or close to) their advertised rates.
But that doesn’t mean that some form of negotiation is impossible.
For instance, let’s say I’m about to re-fix my mortgage.
I'm currently with ASB (offering ~6.8%), but I can see BNZ across the road has a better offer (~6.5%).
If you or your broker asks for a discount, ASB may give you an interest rate closer to BNZ's.
It doesn't always happen. But, often a main bank with a higher interest rate will match another main bank's rate when asked.
The key is that you – or your mortgage broker – ask. The best way to do this is to either pick up the phone or get in front of someone.
Be firm, but not threatening.
Don't say something like: “Give me this rate or I’ll walk.”
Instead say something like: “I really like this offer but I’ve seen this rate somewhere else. I’d really like to stay with your bank, so can you match it?”
You can get a mortgage broker to do your negotiating for you. Since they will usually have more experience with the banks, they may get you a better offer.
#4 1-year vs 2-years vs 5-years. How long should I fix my interest rate for?
How long you fix your interest rate for depends on 2 things:
- Your own interest rate forecasts and predictions, and
- Your situation
Generally, more conservative property owners fix their rates for longer. That's so they have certainty of what their repayments will be over time.
Property owners who are comfortable with variation will fix for shorter.
It also depends where you think interest rates will head in the future.
You can use this graph to see how interest rates have changed over the past 20+ years:
If you think interest rates are going up, you’ll tend to fix for longer. Because then you can keep the current low rate, even as other borrowers pay more in interest.
You might pay a little more in interest today, but you could save money over the longer term.
But if you think interest rates are about to fall you're less likely to lock in for longer.
You don’t want to take a lower rate today only to be stuck with a high rate for the next 5 years.
#5 Special vs Standard interest rate
Although banks usually stick to the advertised rate, sometimes you might not be able to get those advertised rates.
That's because they are called "special rates". They apply to most mortgage borrowers. But not to everyone.
You need to have at least a 20% deposit to get those rates. If you have a smaller deposit, you'll need to pay the standard rate, which is higher. And you may also have to pay an extra margin (more on this below).
For example, here is a comparison between BNZ's current special and standard interest rates:
BNZ's 1-year special rate is 7.35%. But it's standard rate over the same term is 7.99%. So if you don't have a 20% deposit, you'll pay at least 0.60% more.
It's the same with the 3-year rate. BNZ's current special rate is 7.05%, but it's standard 3-year rate is 7.45%. That's 0.40% higher.
Here are the all main banks' standard interest rates:
There are two main scenarios where borrowers may have to pay even higher interest rates. Use the accordions to dig into the detail –
#6 Non-bank vs Bank interest rates
You can also choose whether to get your mortgage from a bank or a non-bank lender.
Banks tend to have lower interest rates but tighter lending criteria. So it’s har
So, if you can’t get a mortgage from a bank, you might decide to use a non-bank lender.
This can work well for:
- business owners,
- borrowers with bad credit,
- investors with large portfolios,
- and anyone who struggles to get a mortgage from a bank
But non-bank lenders also charge higher interest rates.
For instance, here is a comparison between Westpac (a bank) and Resimac (a non-bank lender):
Right now, Resimac's 1-year interest rate is 1.40% higher than Westpac's. Resimac's 1-year rate is currently 8.79% and Westpac's is 7.39%.
It's the same for the 3 year rate. Westpac's rate is 6.75% and Resimac's is 8.25%. So Resimac's 3-year interest rate is 1.50% higher than Westpac's.
Here are a range of interest rates for most non-bank lenders in New Zealand:
Which interest rate should I take?
There is a lot to think about when it comes to choosing your interest rate.
Your choice will significantly impact your mortgage repayment.
But, as this article has shown, it’s not always a straightforward decision. That's why borrowers should talk to a mortgage broker to help choose the right interest rate for them.
Write your questions or thoughts in the comments section below.
Peter Norris is the Managing Director at Catalyst Financial – a mortgage advisory firm, which is fully-owned by Opes Partners. He is a mortgage adviser and has over 10 years experience helping investors and home buyers get finance for their properties. He's a frequent writer for Informed Investor Magazine and has written for Property Investor Magazine.
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