Good news for home buyers, now's the time to get a mortgage

Homeowners with a mortgage - the banks want you.

Interest rates have almost hit historic lows and competition for your business is fierce. But there's a warning, the super-low rates may not last long.

It's a buyers' market now, as only 30 percent of properties up for auction are sold under the hammer.

"In Auckland on a per capita basis, house sales in September were as low as the GFC, so there were really low numbers over winter and we felt it," says mortgage broker John Bolton.

That's right, the global financial crisis of 10 years ago. This means banks trying to maintain their mortgage books are out there buying new business with great deals.

Southland Bank is offering 3.95 percent fixed for two years, HSBC 3.85 percent for one year.

"Other banks that aren't doing as sharp rates are offering cash backs. So you really got to look at every offer on its merits," Mr Bolton says.

Mortgage holders haven't had it this good since 2016, when rates hit historic average lows of 4.33 percent fixed for one year and 4.35 percent for two years.

Current rates for one year are almost the same, and two years fixed are not that far away.

"I personally think that the low rates will go down from here, probably not very much, but they will tend to go down in the short term so the rest of 2018 will be a good time to be fix a mortgage," says publisher David Chaston.

Reserve Bank statistics show there is a bubble of fixed-term mortgages up for renewal, so banks could be busy.

"And you can do better than the carded rates that banks offer, whatever is offered you should be able to negotiate a lower rate," Mr Chaston says.

But how long will the good rates last? The Reserve Bank has signalled the official cash rate will stay low while inflation is low.

But banks also have to borrow money overseas, and the cost of money there is rising - which means historically low interest rates may soon be a thing of the past.