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Take-up of the government's insulation scheme has been hot throughout the summer months, HSBC has substantially dropped its home loan rates and now has the lowest rates on offer, plus a national real estate company has seen sales rise 30% over the past month.

Insulation roars on

Warm weather has not slowed the pace of demand for the government’s insulation scheme.

From the beginning of December 2009 to the end of February, 9,228 homes received retrofitted insulation through the Warm up New Zealand: Heat Smart scheme.

Since July, when the scheme started, 33,500 households throughout the country have taken advantage of the scheme.

Energy and Resource Minister Gerry Brownlee said demand has been well ahead of projections.

“We expected 27,500 households would take advantage of the opportunity to make their homes warmer, dryer and healthier in the scheme’s first year, but demand has seen a surge past that number in nearly half the time."

HSBC drops rates

HSBC launched a home loan campaign last week featuring the most competitive rates across the most common fixed terms available in the market.

The new home loan rates on offer include a six-month fixed term rate which has been cut by 50 basis points to 4.99%. This is the lowest of all currently published rates including variable rates in the market.

The lowest the HSBC six-month rate has previously been is 5.39% between June and October last year compared to 9.80% two years ago.

Its one and two-year rates have also been slashed by 50 basis points. The one year rate is now 5.49% which is a lot lower than the median for minor banks of 6.20% and the closest bank rates are National Bank, Westpac and Kiwibank on 6.15%.

Its two-year rate is now 6.49% with TSB the closest bank on 7.09%. The three-year rate has also been reduced by 40 basis points to 7.29% and the four-year rate has seen a substantial cut of 56 basis points to 7.69%. The median bank rates for these terms are 7.70% and 8.20% respectively.

HSBC head of personal financial services John Barclay says the competitive rates campaign is designed to increase awareness of HSBC as the home loan provider of choice for high net worth New Zealanders.

A customer can qualify for HSBC Premier if they have minimum combined home loans of $500,000.

Sales up for national agent

The Ray White real estate group has recorded a big jump in property sales during March, compared to the previous month.

Sales were up 30% compared to February and 1.4% up on March 2009. Ray White New Zealand CEO Carey Smith says the lift in buyer activity is due to the larger volume of properties on the market plus low interest rates on offer.

“Twelve months ago saw the first rise to come out of the global financial crisis with a distinct lift in property sales and last month has shown the same lift,” he says.

“We expect with the number of properties that have come onto the market to see activity continue to increase for April.”

Ray White saw an increase in property listings of 11% and auction marketing rise 9%.

Source: Landlords.co.nz