Run of mortgage specials over

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 11:02 12/06/2014

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ANZ is the first bank to lift its floating mortgage rates after the latest official cash rate rise this morning.

Homeowners have nowhere to run with fixed rates also expected to climb, ending the run of "special" deals in recent weeks.

The Reserve Bank stayed firm to its projected series of increases this morning, raising its key interest rate to 3.25 per cent.

The central bank's past two increases have seen banks move quickly to hike floating mortgage rates, which are closely tied to the OCR.

Shortly after the announcement, ANZ announced it would raise its floating and flexible rates by 0.25 percentage points this month.

Longer-term fixed mortgages are more closely related to "swap rates", which have already largely priced in the expected series of hikes.

"You're definitely going to see the floating rates go up," said Co-operative Bank chief executive Bruce McLachlan. 

However, this time there was likely to be some movement in fixed rates too, reversing the easing of recent weeks, he said.

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens agreed, saying financial markets had been sceptical of the Reserve Bank's resolve.

"That had caused a drop in fixed-mortgage rates and produced an opportunity to fix," he said.

"I think that opportunity will rapidly disappear following today's statement."

Stephens said floating rates normally moved roughly in line with the OCR.

"They certainly have done so far - I don't see any real reason for this time to be much different."

New Zealanders owe a collective $67 billion worth of floating home loans, and $126b of fixed home loans.

The latest increase adds about $15 a month to the repayments on every $100,000 of mortgage debt, for a 20 year loan.

The Reserve Bank has previously signalled a move closer to "neutral" interest rates, around 4.5 per cent.

That means there could be a further 1.25 percentage points worth of increases to come over the next 18 months.

It is possible that mortgage rates will top 8 per cent by the end of 2015, though some commentators have argued that banks will not pass all the hikes on in full.

The flipside is higher interest rates for savers, with many retirees in particular struggling on meagre investment income.

ANZ has also increased the rate on its high-interest savings account from 4.25 per cent to 4.50 per cent.

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- Stuff

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