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12:54:59 am

Australian Home Loans, Confidence Drop Pressures Rates

Sydney Home Prices Expected to Keep Rising, April 11

The Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC) and Melbourne Institute survey was taken April 2-5 and involved 1,200 consumers. Clear Message The Reserve Bank disappointed many last week by not delivering a much-needed rate cut, Bill Evans , Westpacs chief economist, said in a statement, noting confidence among borrowers slumped 5.1 percent. The results of this survey should be sending a very clear message to the Reserve Bank that Australia needs lower interest rates. The government will maintain the central banks independence and resist controls on the local currency, Finance Minister Penny Wong said in an Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio interview in response to a union chief calling for intervention to aid struggling manufacturers. In terms of a proposition that you peg the dollar or intervene in interest rates , the government will not be doing that, Wong said today.
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Australia Home-Loan Approvals Gain in November on Rate Cut

and National Australia Bank Ltd. -- reduced home- loan rates for customers after both RBA moves. Rate Cuts Stevens lowered the overnight cash rate target to 4.25 percent from 4.5 percent on Dec. 6, citing considerable turbulence in financial markets and an increased chance of a further material slowing in global growth. Traders are betting Stevens is likely to lower borrowing costs again at the central banks next meeting in February, interbank cash-rate futures showed before todays report. The data showed the total value of loans rose 2.1 percent to A$20.3 billion ($20.9 billion) in November. The value of lending to owner-occupiers gained 2.2 percent, the report showed.
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Australia banks cut rates on fixed home loans as borrowers balk

Rates for a three-year fixed loan from the CBA, NAB and ANZ are all at 5.29 percent. Still, while fixed-rates have been coming down for months their popularity still lags. Late last year, 14 percent of new loans had fixed rates, up from 10 percent six months earlier. Lower variable rates would have a much bigger impact on housing demand, and there are signs that intense competition is driving banks to offer better deals. While the average standard variable rate is around 6.44 percent, a couple of phone calls to banks will get a discount of 75 to 100 basis points from that. But the banks are reluctant to ease any further on their own since much of their funding comes from deposits, rather than markets, and rates on those accounts remain relatively high. Deposits now make up 54 percent of the banks' total funding, a marked increase from pre-crisis levels around 40 percent -riven in part by tougher regulations.
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