NAB, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac all cut fixed rate mortgages
 Commonwealth Bank of Australia started it yesterday morning, cutting its five-year loan to 4.99 per cent. NAB and Westpac followed suit almost immediately to match the sub-5 per cent rate. NAB also cut its four-year loan to 4.99 per cent and its three-year product to 4.94 per cent. Non-bank lender Mortgage House outdid them all with a cut to 4.97 per cent. Rates have now reached unprecedented lows, largely as a result of the banks’ ability to tap international markets for cheap capital. Inflation has been rising of late, however, which creates a medium-term threat to interest rates. The banks’ rate cuts effectively reduced the monthly payment on a new mortgage by $166 according to RateCity. Read the full story here.
 
Absentee owner’s home sold by scammers
 The fraudulent sale in the Canberra-area community of Macgregor became apparent when the homeowner called the real estate agent to find out why rental payments had ceased. The new buyers never spoke directly with the owner, and all the transactions occurred through electronic documentation. It’s becoming an increasingly-common scam. Three people in South Africa were recently arrested for attempting a similarly fraudulent sale for $250,000. However, the liability of a real estate agent is limited in the face of an apparently-valid instruction to sell. Read the full story here.
 
Sale of the week; Bond villains only, please
 The $14 million house looks like an alien landing site on Queensland’s Cape Tribulation. Alkira Resort House and Rainforest Retreat sits on a 29.5 ha parcel of land between the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics world heritage area. It’s more than secluded – it’s nearly impossible to reach without a helicopter (though there’s a helicopter pad conveniently supplied.) The 12-bedroom home is built with themes from famous postage stamps, with extensive solar power, polished terrazzo floors and an elevated open living pavilion. Read the full story here. 

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