Almost three-quarters of borrowers who ask for a rate cut get one, a new survey has found. A RateCity.com.au survey of over 1,000 mortgage holders found that, of those on a variable rate, 52% haggled with their bank for a lower rate. Over 73% of these people were successful in getting a rate reduction.

A rate reduction of 0.25% could save the average mortgage holder $1,241 in interest after one year and $3,656 in three years – based on a $500,000 loan balance with 25 years remaining.

While most changes to fixed rates in the last two months have been increases, the opposite is happening in the variable rate market – 49 lenders have reduced at least one variable rate in the past two months, while 10 lenders have increased variable rates.

RateCity research director Sally Tindall says one phone call can potentially save the average variable rate mortgage holder thousands of dollars. “Variable rates are at record lows, however most of these deals are reserved for new customers, not existing ones, unless you specifically ask,” she says.