HSBC's low rate may lead market for some time

The major banks are revealing little on whether they intend to match the market’s lowest rate in 50 years, announced by HSBC on Wednesday.

After HSBC released the lowest current rate in the market on Wednesday with its 3.95% fixed over 18 months, its rivals have been quiet on what their future rates may be.

BNZ and ANZ had nothing to announce at this time; ASB made no comment; TSB said it had no immediate plans but would not rule out such a premier offer down the track; and Kiwibank said outright it will not match the offer, according to RadioNZ.

Massey University School of Economics and Finance associate head David Tripe said he could not remember there being such a low rate.

But he said HSBC was not a big contender for home loans and other banks could not feel pressure to match it.

"There's no necessary immediate need for other banks to copy it,” said Tripe.

"I think what's probably the more interesting aspect of it is that it's indicative of conditions in the mortgage market.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see other banks coming out with special offers for particular periods, be it one year, 18 months, two years, three years, five years or whatever."

Auckland mortgage advisor Christine Lockie said there were other aspects for borrowers to consider in a home loan other than the lowest rate.  

"It is certainly an invite for new business, but HSBC traditionally moved away from standard residential and placed themselves more in the corporate area,” said Lockie.

"They're not looking for your everyday Joe Bloggs, they're looking for your higher net worth customer... they don't suit everybody.

"Something to consider too is HSBC, are they offering the other cash incentives that the other banks are offering?

"I don't believe they do, so that needs to be weighed up in the overall picture of the package."