Amid Westpac’s plans to increase its variable home loan rates by 0.20% on November 20, about 407 variable home loan rates moved out of cycle since June 2015.

“It's interesting to see so much movement in the variable home loans market, particularly when it's outside of the Reserve Bank cash rate cycle," said Michelle Hutchison, money expert for finder.com.au.

Hutchison, referring to finder.com.au’s home loans database, noted that of the 407 loans that have changed their rates out of cycle, 352 of them posted decreases.

"With low funding costs and record high household deposits, it seems unusual for banks to be lifting variable rates out of cycle right now. However, Westpac could be preparing early for APRA's capital requirements of the average risk weight on Australian residential mortgage exposures to increase from 16% to at least 25% by July 2016,” she observed.

“Total household bank deposits is at a record high of $737.3 billion, according to the latest APRA data analysed by finder.com.au. Westpac's household deposits are also sitting at their highest level, at almost $171 billion, as at August 2015.”

Hutchison drew attention toward Westpac’s changes, stating that the rate increases could start an upsurge trend across the home loan market. She hypothesised that more variable home loans will rise in the months to come.

"Westpac holds 23% of the owner-occupied home loan market share out of all banks monitored by APRA, while the big four banks hold a combined 82%. They set the benchmark for the entire mortgage industry.

“We’re clearly seeing banks respond to APRA’s crackdown, and expect to see further movement in the residential lending space so watch this space. For borrowers, it’s definitely the time to do your research when shopping around for a home loan to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal for your situation as competition looks set to get tighter," she urged.

Big four bank’s standard variable home loan rates
 
Bank Current standard variable rate
ANZ 5.38%
Commonwealth Bank 5.45%
NAB 5.43%
Westpac 5.48%
 



 

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