interest rate rises

PHOTO: The Reserve Bank of New Zealand. FILE

“Kiwis borrowing to buy their first or next home still have plenty of options,” says Tim Kearins, Owner of Century 21 New Zealand.

His comments follow the Reserve Bank – for the first time in 2023 – lifting the Official Cash Rate. It has today hiked the OCR by 50 basis points, taking it to 4.75% – its highest level since 2008 when it reached 8.25%. RBNZ earlier forecasted a peak of 5.5% this year.

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“Without doubt rising interest rates will put a lot of pressure on many homeowners this year. However, it’s important to remember the buck doesn’t stop with the big banks. Prospective buyers struggling to get finance, or a good rate, should ring a mortgage broker,” says Mr Kearins.

Often, he says, mortgage brokers can deliver more competitive rates and greater borrowing flexibility than the traditional lenders.

Last week REINZ released its Monthly Property Report for January – a month which saw median house prices across New Zealand decrease 13.3% annually to $762,000. These latest figures showed that the pace of price decline is steadying, with an overall awakening of the market in January.

Mr Kearins says the fact that the time it takes to sell has lengthened out somewhat is unsurprising as buyers are cautious – heightened by the recent weather disasters.

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“The good news is more buyers are certainly starting to emerge, with agents reporting busier open homes. Likewise vendors are increasingly keen to meet the market as they know there’s a lot of stock on the market and this is likely to be a difficult winter,” he says.

The realtor says Century 21 Financial is a big point of difference and competitive advantage for Century 21 New Zealand in the local real estate market. Its Managing Director Julius Capilitan is getting busier, delivering great deals for C21NZ clients up and down the country.

Historically, six or seven percent rates have been about the historical average for Kiwi borrowers, and that’s where most fixed rates with the major banks currently sit.

“While it’s far from ideal, it’s important we keep interest rates in perspective. For now, they’re not out of the ordinary, and let’s not forget borrowers can make up some ground with some great negotiation from their real estate agent,” says Mr Kearins.


Contact: Tim Kearins – Century 21 New Zealand – (0274) 495-547