Home buyers yet to secure a "historic" low mortgage rate are close to missing out as three of the four major banks bump prices back up and experts warn the deals aren't likely to be back anytime soon.

ANZ - the nation's largest bank - had earlier fired the first shot in last month's mortgage war by offering the lowest rate by a major bank since just after World War II with a fixed one-year term of 3.95 per cent.

Westpac and ASB soon after matched the deal with one-year rates of 3.95 per cent, while BNZ offered a two-year deal at 3.99 per cent.

But from tomorrow ANZ, Westpac and BNZ will all raise their rates back above 4 per cent, leaving ASB as the only major bank still offering a 3.95 per cent rate.


Loan Market mortgage adviser Bruce Patten says the low rates - which were always intended as short-term Spring promotions - had sparked a rush among home buyers that made last month one of the busiest for the brokerage in the last 18 months.

But while he would like to see the banks extend or bring back the deals early next year, he wasn't "holding my breath we'll see them coming back" anytime soon.

This was because bank profit margins were being squeezed, he said.

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John Bolton, the chief executive of Squirrel Mortgages, agreed the ultra-low rates weren't likely to last, saying bank margins on home loans last month fell to their lowest levels in five years.

This was due to the banks offering cheaper home loan deals at the same time as their own borrowing costs edged up slightly.

Like Patten, he warned that procrastinating home buyers could easily miss out on the low rates.

"In Australia, mortgage rates have been below 4 per cent for years, so it's easy to get complacent and presume these rates could continue," he said.


"However, this belief is flawed."

John Bolton of Squirrel Mortgages said bank margins on home loans fell to their lowest level in five years last month. Photo / Supplied
John Bolton of Squirrel Mortgages said bank margins on home loans fell to their lowest level in five years last month. Photo / Supplied

Yet Bolton also said there were still good home loan deals available with ANZ offering a one-year fixed term from tomorrow of 4.05 per cent, while BNZ's rate was rising to 4.1 per cent and Westpac to 4.15 per cent.

He said there was little difference between a one-year term on 3.95 per cent and one at 4.05 per cent and that he typically preferred the stability of three-year fixed term rates at around 4.3 per cent with cash back offers anyway.

Many smaller lenders were also still offering home loan rates below 4 per cent.

Bolton said the major banks had entered into a mortgage war in November for a number of reasons.

This included November typically being the time each year when home buyer activity picked up after winter and the time when many people's fixed-term mortgages expire and they are forced to shop around for new deals.


But while Loan Market's Patten said the low rates had sparked a rush of activity among new home buyers and those refinancing existing mortgages, it was still too early to tell if this had boosted house prices because November figures weren't out yet.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuflley expected the low mortgage rates - which had been falling since about August - to likely to lead to a greater number of house sales in Auckland but not a rise in prices.

This was because any push towards higher prices was likely to be stymied by an "ample" supply of housing in the Super City as the number of homes listed for sale had been increasing in "the last couple of years".