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NZ Home Loans Cheaper Than Australia - For Now

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Zealand Home Loans cheaper than Australia - for now anyway

Thursday, 4 December 2003: Wizard compares New Zealand borrowers with Australians as New Zealand stays with an official cash rate of 5 per cent. Yesterday the Australian Governor announced a 25 basis points rate hike to 5.25 per cent and Wizard Home Loans research showed that Australians are preparing for change and realised circumstances have been exceptional.

Head of Wizard New Zealand, John Grant said that the findings of the Wizard Watch Poll of 400 Australians conducted by Wizard Home Loans in the run up to the Reserve Bank of Australia's final meeting for 2003 would be of interest to New Zealanders and predicted we are likely to see increases in the cash rate in the New Year.

"Almost three quarters of those polled in Australia expected further rate rises in the New Year and the research shows that many see this as the beginning of a rising rate environment.

"OECD comments in the last week have pointed to a potential weakness in the Australian housing market and more rate rises to come but Australians are ready for it after a prolonged period of historically low interest rates they realise circumstances have been exceptional, " John Grant said.

John Grant believes those most likely to be affected by the inevitable increase in New Zealand's lending rates in the New Year were those who have stretched themselves to buy a first home and have perhaps gone for a 95 per cent loan, had no savings and little extra income to absorb mortgage increases.

The Australian Wizard Watch survey found:

· In terms of the impact on household budgets, sixty per cent of those surveyed had not even noticed the November interest rate increase.

· Almost a third of people have made some budgetary adjustments although the November rate rise has not had a significant impact.

· Sixty-seven per cent of people say that rates will need to rise another two per cent before repayments become a problem.

· If rates do go up by another two per cent, 35 per cent of respondents said they'd cut down on spending, while a quarter will shop around for a cheaper loan. One in five will try to earn more money.

About Wizard Home Loans

Wizard is Australia's number one non-bank lender and deals directly through its network of 182 branches across Australia and New Zealand. It now has 18 branches across New Zealand and at least another six are planned to open by the middle of next year.

ENDS

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