US credit crisis pushes up NZ mortgages

The US credit crunch has finally hit New Zealand home-buyers directly in the form of rising mortgage rates.

Westpac yesterday raised its fixed rate mortgages by 20 points, taking its two-year fixed rate from 9.4 per cent to 9.6 per cent.

The increase matches moves by New Zealand’s largest bank, ANZ National, within the last week.

The other two major banks, BNZ and ASB, say their rates are under review.

Mortgage rates are usually driven by the Reserve Bank’s official cash rate, which sets the benchmark for local banks.

But the latest rises are being driven by tighter world lending conditions, caused by weaknesses in the American economy.

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