Loans.com.au has one of the lowest mortgage rates in the market, challenging newcomer Athena

Posted: 6 March 2019 11:27 am
News

Man in suit with boxing gloves.

At 3.48% the Smart Home Loan is a single basis point below Athena's refinance offer.

At a time when many bigger lenders have raised rates recently, cut-rate competition is emerging among the smaller, digital-only mortgage lenders.

New fintech lender Athena launched on 25 February with a refinance only variable rate of 3.49%, easily one of the lowest rates on the market.

Today, loans.com.au launches its Smart Home Loan, which is also a variable rate owner occupier loan but has a rate of 3.48%.

Unlike Athena's product, the loans.com.au Smart Home Loan is available for new buyers and refinancers.

Here's how the two loans compare:

loans.com.au Smart Home Loan Athena Home Loan
Interest rate 3.03% p.a. 3.09% p.a.
Loan purpose Owner occupier (home buyers and refinancers) Owner occupier and investor refinancers only (investors have a higher rate)
Deposit size You will need a 20% deposit. You will need a 20% deposit.
Repayment type This is a principal and interest loan. This loan has principal and interest repayments plus interest only repayments (with a higher interest rate).
Fees Settlement fee: $300 Settlement fee: $0.

This information is correct as of 6 March 2019 and may not be updated.

Both mortgages keep rates and fees very low. Both lenders have online applications and phone support but no physical branches.

Competition heating up at the lower end of the market

Interest rates have been rising in 2019, with lenders big and small lifting rates on multiple products.

Athena's launch and loans.com.au's latest offerings show that competition is still fierce, particularly among online lenders.

The gap between the Big Four banks' lowest rates and the lowest on the market is notable. NAB's Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier P&I) First Home Buyer Special is currently the lowest Big Four offer with a 3.09% p.a. interest rate.

That's 21 basis points higher than the Smart Home Loan from loans.com.au.

If you were borrowing $500,000 on a 30-year, principal and interest mortgage, shaving 21 basis points off your loan would save you $708 a year in repayments.

And that's not including ongoing fees, which would bring that up to $1,000 a year with NAB's offer.

Digital lenders could spark a rate cut war

2019 looks to be the year that fintechs and neobank lenders really start gunning for a share of the mortgage market.

New challengers like Volt, Xinja, 86 400 and Revolut are all planning to launch mortgages soon. Athena gained $250 million in loan applications in just their first three days of business.

These challengers all talk a big game and should have some pretty impressive tech behind them. They're all targeting the same market share: digitally savvy, younger customers who want mobile-first convenience, low rates and no fees.

This is also the same market that more established online lenders like loans.com.au, UBank and ING are targeting.

And with a majority of Finder's experts now predicting further RBA cuts to the cash rate this year, these lenders could have another incentive to keep their rates down.

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