Nearly 60 per cent of Westpac NZ home loan customers in Northland are ahead in their mortgage repayments, according to new data.
Northland customers are ahead by a median of $4411 or five months of payments, indicating they are making the most of low interest rates.
Westpac NZ's general manager of consumer banking and wealth, Simon Power, said the bank was keen to support more customers to pay off their loans more quickly, as doing so could save them tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments over the lifetime of the mortgage.
"Westpac's mission is to help our customers financially, to grow a better New Zealand. One of the clearest ways we can do that is to support our customers to save more by paying off their debt faster.
"And with many mortgage rates falling, in the past two weeks, to historic lows, it's a great time for customers to get ahead by holding their repayments at the same level at which they have been paying," Power said.
He says many people have been making the most of low interest rates over the past few years, which reflected a good economy.
Power said half of the regions, including Northland, had managed to increase the median number of weeks or months they were ahead when compared to last year's figures.
"If people are able to increase the amount they repay each fortnight or month by $50, $100 or even $200 when they re-fix, it can make a substantial difference to their overall interest savings."
Power gave the example of someone paying off a $500,000 mortgage over 30 years at an interest rate of 4.79 per cent.
"If that customer pays the minimum $1209 per fortnight it would take 30 years to pay off and cost just over $440,000 in interest.
"But if they can manage to pay off an extra $150 a fortnight, they could shave six years off the mortgage and reduce their total interest paid by more than $106,000. That's a significant saving and a path to greater financial freedom."
Auckland house owners are the furthest ahead in the country, on $14, 456 or nine months, followed by Wellington on $13,082 or 13 months, and Nelson on $12,145 or 20 months.