One of the most important parts of applying for a home loan in Australia is finding a loan that best suits your budget and financial needs. 

Whether you're a first home buyer, investment property mogul, or considering refinancing your existing mortgage, finding a cheap and affordable home loan is at the top of everyone's 'must have' list. Here is how you can find the cheapest home loan for your financial situation.

Find and compare cheap home loans

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Advertised Rate

2.55%

Fixed - 1 year

Comparison Rate*

3.21%

Company
Adelaide Bank
Repayment

$638

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 79.9999%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

2.67

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

2.84%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

2.46%

Company
Athena Home Loans
Repayment

$710

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

1.96

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

3.39%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

3.59%

Company
Pepper
Repayment

$1,484

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 85%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

2.03

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

2.55%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

2.60%

Company
CUA
Repayment

$1,353

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 90%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

3.10

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Product
Advertised Rate

2.79%

Fixed - 3 years

Comparison Rate*

4.46%

Company
CUA
Repayment

$698

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 90%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

1.71

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

2.84%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

2.68%

Company
Athena Home Loans
Repayment

$710

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

1.96

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

3.29%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

3.71%

Company
NAB
Repayment

$823

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 90%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

1.46

/ 5
Go to site
More details
Advertised Rate

2.29%

Variable

Comparison Rate*

2.36%

Company
Reduce Home Loans
Repayment

$1,314

monthly

Features
Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 75%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied
Real Time Rating™

3.57

/ 5
Go to site
More details

Learn more about home loans

What makes up a cheap home loan?

If you're looking for the most affordable home loan for your budget, there's a few loan features you'll want to keep in mind before you make your loan application:

  • Interest rate - One of the biggest factors of a home loan's affordability. The higher the interest rate, the more expensive your loan repayments will be. Keep in mind that the lowest interest rates in the market are typically reserved for customers who meet specific criteria, as outlined below.
  • Fees - There are a range of potential home loan fees you may be charged that contribute to the overall cost of the mortgage. This includes, ongoing fees, application fees, upfront fees, late payment fees and more.
  • Features - If you opt for a home loan with all the bells and whistles, you'll typically find the mortgage is more expensive through fees and interest. Features could include the ability to make additional repayments, a redraw facility or an offset account. It may also mean choosing a home loan package with bundled credit cards, transaction accounts and a line of credit.Keep in mind that features such as the ability to make extra repayments, or hold an offset account, might mean higher ongoing fees, but could ultimately end up saving you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
  • Repayment frequency - As home loan interest is compounded daily, how often you make repayments will significantly reduce not only the principal amount, but the interest you are yet to pay. For example, switching from monthly repayments to fortnightly home loan repayments may help to reduce the overall cost of the mortgage.
  • Loan term - The period of time you choose to repay the full cost of the loan also plays a role in its affordability. A typical home loan length is around 25 years. A longer loan term, such as 30-40 years, may mean your monthly repayments are smaller, but the total interest you'll pay over the life of the loan can be tens of thousands of dollars higher.

Finding a cheap home loan

When comparing home loans, you'll immediately discover that there are a multitude of loan options and repayment types. From fixed or variable, to interest-only or principal and interest, finding the cheapest home loan may depend on the loan type you choose.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind that, as a rule of thumb, make up the cheapest home loans. 

  • Owner-occupier loans

Owner-occupier home loans typically come with lower interest rates than investor home loans. Lenders claim this is because they believe there's less risk to themselves when the homeowner is living in the home, rather than renting it out. The lower the risk to the lender, the lower the interest rate. 

  • Fixed rate loans

In a low cash rate environment, lenders typically offer cheaper fixed interest rates than variable home loan interest rates. This is because the lender is betting that interest rates could fall further and reduce their variable interest rates at greater numbers. If more borrowers are locked into fixed rates when a bank is forced to cut its variable rate home loans, the banks will still maintain some profits.

Australia has been in a low cash rate environment for several years now. And while no one can predict the bottom of the market, locking in a low fixed rate now could mean you have one of the cheapest home loans despite how rates may change in the future. 

  • Principal & interest loans

Lenders also offer cheaper home loans for borrowers paying principal & interest versus interest only. This is because the loan repayments on a principal and interest mortgage are actually chipping away at the outstanding debt. If you're only paying interest, but your principal (loan amount) is untouched, your debt is also not being reduced. 

This, again, all comes back to the amount of risk to the lender. If someone on an interest-only loan suddenly cannot meet their loan repayments and defaults, and they've never paid off any of their principal, the impact on the lender is much more severe. 

  • New home loan customers

Whether you're a first home buyer or looking to refinance, lenders also typically reserve their cheapest rates for new customers. This is also called the 'loyalty tax', as home loan lenders will use cheap rates to entice new customers onto their books, while keeping existing customers on higher rates. Generally, if you want a cheaper rate from your existing lender you'll either need to call them up and demand it, or make yourself a new customer and refinance. 

  • Deposit size / loan-to-value ratio (LVR)

Another factor to consider when searching for your cheapest home loan is the loan-to-value ratio (LVR). This is the difference between the amount you're borrowing from the bank and the value of the property, generally represented as a percentage. For example, if you've saved a 10 per cent deposit for a home loan, your LVR would be 90 per cent when you purchase a property. 

Commonly, the lower the LVR, the cheaper the mortgage. This is because lenders view you as a less risky borrower if:

  1. you're a would-be buyer and have shown you can save a bigger deposit, or
  2. you're a refinancer and have built up some equity in your home.

If you're able to save up a 20 per cent deposit and have an LVR of 80 per cent, you'll also be able to avoid costly Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). This is because if you have a higher LVR, you're seen to carry a greater risk. LMI is an additional insurance cost paid to the lender that helps to protect them at the risk you'll default.

How to compare cheap home loans

The best way to compare cheap home loans is to use comparison tools, such as comparison rates, comparison tables and calculators.

  • Comparison rates - Allow you to get a more realistic picture of what a home loan will cost. If you just look at the advertised interest rate against a potential loan amount, you'll be searching with a blind spot. Comparison rates also factor in any loan fees to give you a better picture of what your repayments may look like.
  • Comparison tables - There are hundreds of home loans in the Australian market. Comparison tables, such as the one on this page, can help you to compare apples with apples. By allowing you to filter down the loan amount, loan type, and any features you may want, you can best compare home loans that suit your specific budget and needs.
  • Home loan calculators - Calculators, such as mortgage repayment calculators or refinance calculators, can help give you a better picture of how a mortgage may fit into your financial situation. Once you've narrowed down your shortlist of home loans, putting their comparison rates into a calculator can show you what the potential loan repayments will look like, and if that fits into your budget.

Can I get a cheap home loan if I have a bad credit history?

Another aspect that may play into the interest rate you're offered is your credit score and credit history. Cheap home loans for borrowers with bad credit history can be challenging to find. This is again all about the risk to the lender. Borrowers with excellent credit will be seen as a safer option, and more likely be rewarded with lower home loan rates. 

If you find yourself in this situation, spend some time building up your credit history, or look at lenders who specialise in non-conforming loans or low-doc loans.

If you spend some time comparing the options, you may find something that fits your budget and saves you money. Beware that you will often be charged a higher interest rate as you will be considered a risky borrower by the lending institution.

If you're not sure if you'll qualify for one of the lower rate home loans on the market, it may be worth reaching out to a mortgage broker for additional help and  information.

Frequently asked questions

Can I take a personal loan after a home loan?

Are you struggling to pay the deposit for your dream home? A personal loan can help you pay the deposit. The question that may arise in your mind is can I take a home loan after a personal loan, or can you take a personal loan at the same time as a home loan, as it is. The answer is that, yes, provided you can meet the general eligibility criteria for both a personal loan and a home loan, your application should be approved. Those eligibility criteria may include:

  • Higher-income to show repayment capability for both the loans
  • Clear credit history with no delays in bill payments or defaults on debts
  • Zero or minimal current outstanding debt
  • Some amount of savings
  • Proven rent history will be positively perceived by the lenders

A personal loan after or during a home loan may impact serviceability, however, as the numbers can seriously add up. Every loan you avail of increases your monthly installments and the amount you use to repay the personal loan will be considered to lower the money available for the repayment of your home loan.

As to whether you can get a personal loan after your home loan, the answer is a very likely "yes", though it does come with a caveat: as long as you can show sufficient income to repay both the loans on time, you should be able to get that personal loan approved. A personal loan can also help to improve your credit score showing financial discipline and responsibility, which may benefit you with more favorable terms for your home loan.

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.

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. 

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 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 much deposit do I need for a home loan from ANZ?

Like other mortgage lenders, ANZ often prefers a home loan deposit of 20 per cent or more of the property value when you’re applying for a home loan. It may be possible to get a home loan with a smaller deposit of 10 per cent or even 5 per cent, but there are a few reasons to consider saving a larger deposit if possible:

  • A larger deposit tells a lender that you’re a great saver, which could help increase the chances of your home loan application getting approved.
  • The more money you pay as a deposit, the less you’ll have to borrow in your home loan. This could mean paying off your loan sooner, and being charged less total interest.
  • If your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the property value, you might incur additional costs, such as Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

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 a fixed home loan?

A fixed rate home loan is a loan where the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, usually between one and 15 years. The advantage of a fixed rate is that you know exactly how much your repayments will be for the duration of the fixed term. There are some disadvantages to fixing that you need to be aware of. Some products won’t let you make extra repayments, or offer tools such as an offset account to help you reduce your interest, while others will charge a significant break fee if you decide to terminate the loan before the fixed period finishes.

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.

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.

How to apply for a home loan pre-approval from St. George?

By applying for a home loan pre-approval, you can establish how much you can afford to borrow and look for houses within that pre-approved budget. Getting home loan pre-approval from St. George is a fairly simple process that can be completed within 15 minutes. 

The first step in this process is completing a home loan application. Once that application is submitted, a home loan expert from St. George will contact you to understand your requirements and your current financial position. You could also directly contact a home loan expert at the bank by calling 13 33 30 or by visiting your nearest branch. 

Once the application has been processed, the home loan expert will ask for some basic documentation to confirm your borrowing capacity. After this, you should be issued a home loan pre-approval, subject to certain conditions. 

Based on your home loan pre-approval from St. George, you can then find a property and make an offer. Your home loan expert will arrange to have the property valued and may request for more documentation, taking your home loan application to the next step. 

 

 

What is the difference between fixed, variable and split rates?

Fixed rate

A fixed rate home loan is a loan where the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, usually between one and 15 years. The advantage of a fixed rate is that you know exactly how much your repayments will be for the duration of the fixed term. There are some disadvantages to fixing that you need to be aware of. Some products won’t let you make extra repayments, or offer tools such as an offset account to help you reduce your interest, while others will charge a significant break fee if you decide to terminate the loan before the fixed period finishes.

Variable rate

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.

Split rates home loans

A split loan lets you fix a portion of your loan, and leave the remainder on a variable rate so you get a bet each way on fixed and variable rates. A split loan is a good option for someone who wants the peace of mind that regular repayments can provide but still wants to retain some of the additional features variable loans typically provide such as an offset account. Of course, with most things in life, split loans are still a trade-off. If the variable rate goes down, for example, the lower interest rates will only apply to the section that you didn’t fix.

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 to apply for a pre-approval home loan from Bendigo Bank?

Applying for pre-approval on your home loan gives you confidence in your ability to secure finance while looking at potential new homes. You can get a free and personalised pre-approval home loan from Bendigo Bank in just a few minutes, without any credit checks or paperwork. 

Bendigo Bank offers pre-approval for home loans that allow you to understand the home loan size you may be able to get before looking for a new home. 

With the pre-approval, Bendigo Bank provides an estimate of your borrowing power. This figure incorporates stamp duty, lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) and any first home buyer incentives you may be eligible for. You may also qualify for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme initiative, depending on your circumstances. 

To apply for a pre-approval on your home loan from Bendigo Bank, all you need to do is fill in a smart form. You could also contact the bank directly on 1300 236 344.

How long does Bankwest take to approve home loans?

Full approval for a home loan usually involves a property valuation, which, Bankwest suggests, can take “a week or two”. As a result, getting your home loan approved may take longer. However, you may get full approval within this time if you applied for and received conditional approval, sometimes called a pre-approval, from Bankwest before finalising the home you want to buy.  

Another way of speeding up approvals can be by completing, signing, and submitting your home loan application digitally. Essentially, you give the bank or your mortgage broker a copy of your home’s sale contract and then complete the rest of the steps online. Bankwest has claimed this cuts the approval time to less than four days, although this may only happen if your income and credit history can be verified easily, or if your home’s valuation doesn’t take time.

Can I get a NAB home loan on casual employment?

While many lenders consider casual employees as high-risk borrowers because of their fluctuating incomes, there are a few specialist lenders, such as NAB, which may provide home loans to individuals employed on a casual basis. A NAB home loan for casual employment is essentially a low doc home loan specifically designed to help casually employed individuals who may be unable to provide standard financial documents. However, since such loans are deemed high risk compared to regular home loans, you could be charged higher rates and receive lower maximum LVRs (Loan to Value Ratio, which is the loan amount you can borrow against the value of the property).

While applying for a home loan as a casual employee, you will likely be asked to demonstrate that you've been working steadily and might need to provide group certificates for the last two years. It is at the lender’s discretion to pick either of the two group certificates and consider that to be your income. If you’ve not had the same job for several years, providing proof of income could be a bit of a challenge for you. In this scenario, some lenders may rely on your year to date (YTD) income, and instead calculate your yearly income from that.

How can I get ANZ home loan pre-approval?

Shopping for a new home is an exciting experience and getting a pre-approval on the loan may give you the peace of mind that you are looking at properties within your budget. 

At the time of applying for the ANZ Bank home loan pre-approval, you will be required to provide proof of employment and income, along with records of your savings and debts.

An ANZ home loan pre-approval time frame is usually up to three months. However, being pre-approved doesn’t necessarily mean you will get your home loan. Other factors could lead to your home loan application being rejected, even with a prior pre-approval. Some factors include the property evaluation not meeting the bank’s criteria or a change in your financial circumstances.

You can make an application for ANZ home loan pre-approval online or call on 1800100641 Mon-Fri 8.00 am to 8.00 pm (AEST).

Does Westpac offer loan maternity leave options?

Having a baby or planning for one can bring about a lot of changes in your life, including to the hip pocket. You may need to re-do the budget to make sure you can afford the upcoming expenses, especially if one partner is taking parental leave to look after the little one. 

Some families find it difficult to meet their home loan repayment obligations during this period. Flexible options, such as the Westpac home loan maternity leave offerings, have been put together to help reduce the pressure of repayments during parental leave.

Westpac offers a couple of choices, depending on your circumstances:

  • Parental Leave Mortgage Repayment Reduction: You could get your home loan repayments reduced for up to 12 months for home loans with a term longer than a year. 
  • Mortgage Repayment Pause: You can pause repayments while on maternity leave, provided you’ve made additional repayments earlier.

When applying for a home loan while pregnant, Westpac has said it will recognise paid maternity leave and back-to-work salaries. All you need is a letter from your employer verifying your return-to-work date and the nature of your employment. Your partner’s income, government entitlements, savings and investments will may help your application.

Can I apply for an ANZ non-resident home loan? 

You may be eligible to apply for an ANZ non-resident home loan only if you meet the following two conditions:

  1. You hold a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa or its predecessor, the Temporary Skilled Work (subclass 457) visa.
  2. Your job is included in the Australian government’s Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List. 

However, non-resident home loan applications may need Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval in addition to meeting ANZ’s Mortgage Credit Requirements. Also, they may not be eligible for loans that require paying for Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI). As a result, you may not be able to borrow more than 80 per cent of your home’s value. However, you can apply as a co-borrower with your spouse if they are a citizen of either Australia or New Zealand, or are a permanent resident.

Remaining loan term

The length of time it will take to pay off your current home loan, based on the currently-entered mortgage balance, monthly repayment and interest rate.