Buy house and get five-night trip to Fiji: Local bank's new home-loan offer

Author
Ben Leahy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Jan 2020, 9:27PM
Kiwibank is throwing in free Fiji trip for new home-loan customers. (Photo / SXC)
Kiwibank is throwing in free Fiji trip for new home-loan customers. (Photo / SXC)

Buy house and get five-night trip to Fiji: Local bank's new home-loan offer

Author
Ben Leahy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 21 Jan 2020, 9:27PM

If you are about to take out a new home loan then you might be facing a long time without cash to splash on overseas holidays - and that's where Kiwibank is hoping to win new customers.

Home buyers taking out new loans with the bank over the coming month will also get a five-night holiday for two to Fiji thrown in.

The home loans must be worth more than $250,000 and customers need to have a minimum equity of 20 per cent of their loan value.

The flashy deal came as Auckland's housing market has leapt back to life and the banks are scrambling to cash in on the windfall of customers.

Home loan interest repayment rates have been hovering near record lows for a year now, with most banks also offering cash-back deals valued in the thousands of dollars.

Kiwibank with its Fiji holiday giveaway was the only lender at the moment using a different approach to win customers than simply offering cash back, Loan Market mortgage adviser Bruce Patten said.

"There is very little difference in the rates market right now because rates are so low at close to 3 per cent that there is not a lot of margin there for the banks to give away," he said.

"So Kiwibank are looking at a different approach to excite customers."

The fight for customers has taken on added importance on the back of major pick up in house sales in recent months.

The number of homes sold in Auckland last month hit a four-year high, according to Real Estate Institute of NZ data.

Patten said December was a record for Loan Market as it's mortgage brokers helped more customers sign up for home loans than in any other month in the company's history.

"The numbers were ridiculous - it's just gone mental," he said

The pick-up in business started in August, after a quiet early part to the year, he said.

Low home loan interest rates were playing a big part in the pick-up.

Banks had also been "highly competitive" in offering cash back deals to customers that signed up for home loans for them.

However, most had resisted offering other giveaways to win customers.

Patten said it had been about four-or-five years since he had last seen banks giving away televisions or Samsung phones to new customers.

Kiwibank on the other hand had used its Fiji holiday offer a few times recently, he said.

"This is probably the third or fourth time they've run this promotion - it's obviously working, it's a great conversation starter," he said.

The Fiji trip includes return flights, airport transfers and five nights accommodation in a Superior Garden View room at the 5 star Pullman Nadi Bay Resort & Spa.

Yet Patten said he wasn't a fan of the giveaway.

"People have to realise, they still have to pay for the costs while they are away on the trip so it could end up that they run up a little debt by doing it," he said.

"They need to be mindful of whether they can actually afford it."

He also cautioned customers about simply getting enamoured with the trip and forgetting to check they are getting the best possible deal for their home loan.

"I'd always take the cash-back offer over the trip. You can buy yourself a trip - the one you want - or pay down your mortgage," he said.

The Kiwibank giveaway also follows on from a spree of giveaways in the real estate market last year.

Auckland homes and Waiheke baches were last year put up for sale with McLaren and Maserati supercars thrown in and even ticket and flights to watch the Rugby World Cup Final in Japan last year.

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