Athena is a direct mortgage provider based in Sydney. As a digital non-bank lender, Athena can provide competitive interest rates and personalised customer service to help customers save time and money on their mortgage. Athena also offers like-for-like loans, where existing Athena customers get to enjoy the same interest rates as new customers, so nobody misses out on the best available rate from Athena.
Athena home loan repayment calculator
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at interest rate 2.44 %
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Pros and cons
- Like-for-like loans
- No application fees, ongoing fees or exit fees
- Competitive rates
- Not available to all self-employed borrowers
- Not available for selected properties e.g. apartments built during 2013 or later
Athena home loans rates
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The more you pay off this home loan, the lower the interest rate can become.
How to apply for an Athena home loan
You can apply for an Athena home loan online via the Athena website. You can also contact Athena by phone for more information.
To apply for an Athena home loan, you’ll need to fulfil the following criteria:
- Up to 2 applicants in total, over the age of 18
- Borrow 80% or less of the value of your property. In certain cases you might only be able to borrow up to 70%.
- At least one applicant is employed, including full-time, part-time & casual PAYG employment
- Your property is in a capital city or major population centre
- Australian/NZ citizens (living in Australia) or permanent residents
- You have good credit history
About Athena home loans
Athena offers a relatively small selection of home loan options compared to some other mortgage lenders. There are principal and interest and interest-only home loan options for owner occupiers and investors available, with no application fees, ongoing fees or annual fees. These loans can also offer access to fee-free extra repayments and redraws. Athena has plans in place to release additional loan options in the future, to suit a greater variety of households and budgets.
Once you’ve successfully applied for an Athena home loan, you’ll be able to access your account by logging in online at the Athena website. You can also access additional information and resources, including home loan calculators to help you estimate your potential savings if you were to refinance and switch to an Athena home loan.
Athena home loan rates
As an online-only lender, Athena is able to offer relatively competitive interest rates on its home loans compared to some larger banks. Some of Athena’s lowest rates are available to owner-occupiers paying principal and interest, with P&I investors paying slightly higher rates. Owner-occupiers and investors who choose to pay interest only for up to five years will pay higher interest rates.
Athena offers like-for-like home loans, to help keep Athena customers from missing out on savings. If Athena offers a lower home loan interest rate to new customers, existing Athena customers with the same type of mortgage will receive an automatic rate match.
Athena home loans review
Owner-occupiers and investors can get principal and interest or interest-only home loans from Athena, provided they have a loan to value ratio (LVR) of 80% or less, a good credit history, a property in a capital city or regional centre, and aren’t self-employed. Athena may not be able to offer mortgages on selected property types, such as apartments in buildings over 7 storeys that were built in 2013 or later.
Athena’s interest rates are competitive in the Australian market. Plus, like-for-like loans means existing Athena customers should enjoy the same interest savings as new customers in the future.
Athena doesn’t charge fees for its home loans, so customers may only need to pay third party costs on their home loan. Unlimited extra repayments are available, plus fee-free redraws for when you want your extra savings back in your pocket.
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What is 'principal and interest'?
‘Principal and interest’ loans are the most common type of home loans on the market. The principal part of the loan is the initial sum lent to the customer and the interest is the money paid on top of this, at the agreed interest rate, until the end of the loan.
By reducing the principal amount, the total of interest charged will also become smaller until eventually the debt is paid off in full.
How can I calculate interest on my home loan?
You can calculate the total interest you will pay over the life of your loan by using a mortgage calculator. The calculator will estimate your repayments based on the amount you want to borrow, the interest rate, the length of your loan, whether you are an owner-occupier or an investor and whether you plan to pay ‘principal and interest’ or ‘interest-only’.
If you are buying a new home, the calculator will also help you work out how much you’ll need to pay in stamp duty and other related costs.
What is an interest-only loan? How do I work out interest-only loan repayments?
An ‘interest-only’ loan is a loan where the borrower is only required to pay back the interest on the loan. Typically, banks will only let lenders do this for a fixed period of time – often five years – however some lenders will be happy to extend this.
Interest-only loans are popular with investors who aren’t keen on putting a lot of capital into their investment property. It is also a handy feature for people who need to reduce their mortgage repayments for a short period of time while they are travelling overseas, or taking time off to look after a new family member, for example.
While moving on to interest-only will make your monthly repayments cheaper, ultimately, you will end up paying your bank thousands of dollars extra in interest to make up for the time where you weren’t paying off the principal.
What are the responsibilities of a mortgage broker?
Mortgage brokers act as the go-between for borrowers looking for a home loan and the lenders offering the loan. They offer personalised advice to help borrowers choose the right home loan for their needs.
In Australia, mortgage brokers are required by law to carry an Australian Credit License (ACL) if they offer credit assistance services. Which is the legal term for guidance regarding the different kinds of credit offered by lenders, including home loan mortgages. They may not need this license if they are working for an aggregator, for instance, as a franchisee. In both these situations, they need to comply with the regulations laid down by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
These regulations, which are stipulated by Australian legislation, require mortgage brokers to comply with what are called “responsible lending” and “best interest” obligations. Responsible lending obligations mean brokers have to suggest “suitable” home loans. This means loans that you can easily qualify for, actually meet your needs, and don’t prove unnecessarily challenging for you.
Starting 1 January 2021, mortgage brokers must comply with best interest obligations in addition to responsible lending obligations. These require mortgage brokers to act in the best interest of their customers and also requires them to prioritise their customers’ interests over their own. For instance, a mortgage broker may not recommend a lender who gives them a commission if that lender’s home loan offer does not benefit that particular customer.
What are the pros and cons of no-deposit home loans?
It’s no longer possible to get a no-deposit home loan in Australia. In some circumstances, you might be able to take out a mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit – but before you do so, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.
The big advantage of borrowing 95 per cent (also known as a 95 per cent home loan) is that you get to buy your property sooner. That may be particularly important if you plan to purchase in a rising market, where prices are increasing faster than you can accumulate savings.
But 95 per cent home loans also have disadvantages. First, the 95 per cent home loan market is relatively small, so you’ll have fewer options to choose from. Second, you’ll probably have to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance). Third, you’ll probably be charged a higher interest rate. Fourth, the more you borrow, the more you’ll ultimately have to pay in interest. Fifth, if your property declines in value, your mortgage might end up being worth more than your home.
What happens to my home loan when interest rates rise?
If you are on a variable rate home loan, every so often your rate will be subject to increases and decreases. Rate changes are determined by your lender, not the Reserve Bank of Australia, however often when the RBA changes the cash rate, a number of banks will follow suit, at least to some extent. You can use RateCity cash rate to check how the latest interest rate change affected your mortgage interest rate.
When your rate rises, you will be required to pay your bank more each month in mortgage repayments. Similarly, if your interest rate is cut, then your monthly repayments will decrease. Your lender will notify you of what your new repayments will be, although you can do the calculations yourself, and compare other home loan rates using our mortgage calculator.
There is no way of conclusively predicting when interest rates will go up or down on home loans so if you prefer a more stable approach consider opting for a fixed rate loan.
How can I get a home loan with bad credit?
If you want to get a home loan with bad credit, you need to convince a lender that your problems are behind you and that you will, indeed, be able to repay a mortgage.
One step you might want to take is to visit a mortgage broker who specialises in bad credit home loans (also known as ‘non-conforming home loans’ or ‘sub-prime home loans’). An experienced broker will know which lenders to approach, and how to plead your case with each of them.
Two points to bear in mind are:
- Many home loan lenders don’t provide bad credit mortgages
- Each lender has its own policies, and therefore favours different things
If you’d prefer to directly approach the lender yourself, you’re more likely to find success with smaller non-bank lenders that specialise in bad credit home loans (as opposed to bigger banks that prefer ‘vanilla’ mortgages). That’s because these smaller lenders are more likely to treat you as a unique individual rather than judge you according to a one-size-fits-all policy.
Lenders try to minimise their risk, so if you want to get a home loan with bad credit, you need to do everything you can to convince lenders that you’re safer than your credit history might suggest. If possible, provide paperwork that shows:
- You have a secure job
- You have a steady income
- You’ve been reducing your debts
- You’ve been increasing your savings
Who has the best home loan?
Determining who has the ‘best’ home loan really does depend on your own personal circumstances and requirements. It may be tempting to judge a loan merely on the interest rate but there can be added value in the extras on offer, such as offset and redraw facilities, that aren’t available with all low rate loans.
To determine which loan is the best for you, think about whether you would prefer the consistency of a fixed loan or the flexibility and potential benefits of a variable loan. Then determine which features will be necessary throughout the life of your loan. Thirdly, consider how much you are willing to pay in fees for the loan you want. Once you find the perfect combination of these three elements you are on your way to determining the best loan for you.
How do I refinance my home loan?
Refinancing your home loan can involve a bit of paperwork but if you are moving on to a lower rate, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long-run. The first step is finding another loan on the market that you think will save you money over time or offer features that your current loan does not have. Once you have selected a couple of loans you are interested in, compare them with your current loan to see if you will save money in the long term on interest rates and fees. Remember to factor in any break fees and set up fees when assessing the cost of switching.
Once you have decided on a new loan it is simply a matter of contacting your existing and future lender to get the new loan set up. Beware that some lenders will revert your loan back to a 25 or 30 year term when you refinance which may mean initial lower repayments but may cost you more in the long run.
What is the best interest rate for a mortgage?
The fastest way to find out what the lowest interest rates on the market are is to use a comparison website.
While a low interest rate is highly preferable, it is not the only factor that will determine whether a particular loan is right for you.
Loans with low interest rates can often include hidden catches, such as high fees or a period of low rates which jumps up after the introductory period has ended.
To work out the best value for money, have a look at a loan’s comparison rate and read the fine print to get across all the fees and charges that you could be theoretically charged over the life of the loan.
What is an ongoing fee?
Ongoing fees are any regular payments charged by your lender in addition to the interest they apply including annual fees, monthly account keeping fees and offset fees. The average annual fee is close to $200 however there are almost 2,000 home loan products that don’t charge an annual fee at all. There’s plenty of extra costs when you’re buying a home, such as conveyancing, stamp duty, moving costs, so the more fees you can avoid on your home loan, the better. While $200 might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, it adds up to $6,000 over the life of a 30 year loan – money which would be much better off either reinvested into your home loan or in your back pocket for the next rainy day.
Example: Anna is tossing up between two different mortgage products. Both have the same variable interest rate, but one has a monthly account keeping fee of $20. By picking the loan with no fees, and investing an extra $20 a month into her loan, Josie will end up shaving 6 months off her 30 year loan and saving over $9,000* in interest repayments.
Are bad credit home loans dangerous?
Bad credit home loans can be dangerous if the borrower signs up for a loan they’ll struggle to repay. This might occur if the borrower takes out a mortgage at the limit of their financial capacity, especially if they have some combination of a low income, an insecure job and poor savings habits.
Bad credit home loans can also be dangerous if the borrower buys a home in a stagnant or falling market – because if the home has to be sold, they might be left with ‘negative equity’ (where the home is worth less than the mortgage).
That said, bad credit home loans can work out well if the borrower is able to repay the mortgage – for example, if they borrow conservatively, have a decent income, a secure job and good savings habits. Another good sign is if the borrower buys a property in a market that is likely to rise over the long term.
What is a variable home loan?
A variable rate home loan is one where the interest rate can and will change over the course of your loan. The rate is determined by your lender, not the Reserve Bank of Australia, so while the cash rate might go down, your bank may decide not to follow suit, although they do broadly follow market conditions. One of the upsides of variable rates is that they are typically more flexible than their fixed rate counterparts which means that a lot of these products will let you make extra repayments and offer features such as offset accounts.
How can I negotiate a better home loan rate?
Negotiating with your bank can seem like a daunting task but if you have been a loyal customer with plenty of equity built up then you hold more power than you think. It’s highly likely your current lender won’t want to let your business go without a fight so if you do your research and find out what other banks are offering new customers you might be able to negotiate a reduction in interest rate, or a reduction in fees with your existing lender.
What is an ombudsman?
An complaints officer – previously referred to as an ombudsman -looks at formal complaints from customers about their credit providers, and helps to find a fair and independent solution to these problems.
These services are handled by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, a non-profit government organisation that addresses and resolves financial disputes between customers and financial service providers.