Australian banks cut mortgage rates below 5 pct

Australian banks cut mortgage rates below 5 pct

SYDNEY, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Three of Australia's largest banks cut their fixed home mortgage rates on Wednesday to less than 5 percent, in a bid to win new customers in the nation's 1.3 trillion Australian dollars (1.23 trillion U.S. dollars) mortgage market.

The Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac became the latest banks to cut fixed rates, each giving borrowers the chance to lock in the lowest rate in two years.

Commonwealth moved first, slashing its five-year loan to 4.99 percent, a new low for the bank. Hours later, NAB and Westpac matched Commonwealth's five-year rate. NAB also cut rates on its three- and four-year loans.

As banks reach out to global markets for cheaper money, NAB's four-year loan was cut to 4.99 percent and its three-year product to 4.94 percent.

Fixed rates are influenced by the Reserve Bank's cash rate, which has been left on hold at a record low of 2.5 percent for almost a year.