You might be closer to buying a house than you think

You might be closer to buying a house than you think

Housing affordability is one of the key issues of this election, yet it’s actually becoming easier to enter the property market in much of Australia.

Of course, ‘easier’ doesn’t mean ‘easy’. It’s still tough to save a deposit.

But as new statistics from Domain show, house prices fell in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra during the year to March.

If you live in those cities, and you want to enter the market with just a 5 per cent deposit, home ownership might be closer than you think.

A lot of borrowers don’t realise it’s possible to buy a home with such a small deposit – yet there are actually more than 75 lenders that allow home buyers to borrow up to 95 per cent of the value of their property, according to a RateCity comparison search.

Who offers 95% mortgages?

Australia’s 10 biggest home loan lenders allow borrowers to take out mortgages with as little as a 5% deposit. They are Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB, ANZ, ING, Suncorp Bank, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank, Macquarie Bank, Bank of Queensland and ME Bank.

How much of a deposit you need in each capital city

Here’s how much you’d need to save if you wanted to put down a 5 per cent deposit and buy a house valued at your capital city’s median price:

City Median house price Prices trending… 5% deposit
Sydney $1,027,962 Down $51,398
Melbourne $809,468 Down $40,473
Brisbane $563,666 Down $28,183
Perth $529,997 Down $26,500
Adelaide $542,474 Up $27,124
Hobart $478,247 Up $23,912
Canberra $722,440 Down $36,122
Darwin $514,546 Up $25,727

Which other banks offer 95% home loans?

A wide range of other banks offer 95% mortgages, including Auswide Bank, Bank Australia, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, Bankwest, Gateway Bank, Greater Bank, Heritage Bank, IMB Bank, MyState Bank, P&N Bank, Qudos Bank, St George Bank, Regional Australia Bank and Teachers Mutual Bank.

Here’s how much you’d need to save if you wanted to put down a 5 per cent deposit and buy a unit valued at your capital city’s median price:

City Median unit price Prices trending… 5% deposit
Sydney $696,935 Down $34,847
Melbourne $466,892 Down $23,345
Brisbane $372,852 Down $18,643
Perth $347,596 Down $17,380
Adelaide $312,459 Down $15,623
Hobart $363,418 Up $18,171
Canberra $426,719 Down $21,336
Darwin $313,462 Down $15,673

Which credit unions allow 5% deposits?

Various credit unions allow 5% deposits, including BCU, Community First Credit Union, Credit Union SA, CUA, Family First Credit Union, Horizon Credit Union, Illawarra Credit Union, Macquarie Credit Union, Northern Inland Credit Union, People’s Choice Credit Union, Queenslander Country Credit Union, Queenslanders Credit Union, Southern Cross Credit Union, Summerland Credit Union and Transport Mutual Credit Union.

But wait, there’s more (costs)

If you think that buying a property with just a 5 per cent deposit seems too good to be true – well, it kind of is.

That’s because you’ll have to pay some other costs as well.

First, your lender will almost certainly make you pay lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI), which usually applies when your deposit is less than 20 per cent. LMI is an insurance policy designed to protect the lender (not the borrower) in case the borrower defaults on the mortgage. If you’re a first home buyer, and you put down a 5 per cent deposit on a $500,000 property, you’ll have to pay an estimated $15,960 in LMI, according to Genworth.

Second, you might have to pay stamp duty. This is a state tax, so it varies from state to state. For example, a first home buyer who purchases a $500,000 house would be exempt from stamp duty in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, but would have to pay $21,330 in South Australia.

Third, you’ll have to pay for conveyancing, which will set you back about $1,500.

Finally, you might choose to get a building and pest report, which would cost about $1,000.

Which non-bank lenders allow 95% LVR home loans?

You can also get mortgages with a loan-to-value ratio of 95 per cent through non-bank lenders such as AFM, Aussie, Australian Financial, Freedom Lend, iMortgage, Kogan Money, Liberty, Mortgage House, Pepper Money, RAMS, Resi, Resimac, State Custodians, Virgin Money and Yellow Brick Road.

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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Head of Content Leigh Stark before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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Learn more about home loans

How much deposit do I need for a home loan from NAB?

The right deposit size to get a home loan with an Australian lender will depend on the lender’s eligibility criteria and the value of your property.

Generally, lenders look favourably on applicants who save up a 20 per cent deposit for their property This also means applicants do not have to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). However, you may still be able to obtain a mortgage with a 10 - 15 per cent deposit.  

Keep in mind that NAB is one of the participating lenders for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which allows eligible borrowers to buy a property with as low as a 5 per cent deposit without paying the LMI. The Federal Government guarantees up to 15 per cent of the deposit to help first-timers to become homeowners.

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.

Cash or mortgage – which is more suitable to buy an investment property?

Deciding whether to buy an investment property with cash or a mortgage is a matter or personal choice and will often depend on your financial situation. Using cash may seem logical if you have the money in reserve and it can allow you to later use the equity in your home. However, there may be other factors to think about, such as whether there are other debts to pay down and whether it will tie up all of your spare cash. Again, it’s a personal choice and may be worth seeking personal advice.

A mortgage is a popular option for people who don’t have enough cash in the bank to pay for an investment property. Sometimes when you take out a mortgage you can offset your loan interest against the rental income you may earn. The rental income can also help to pay down the loan.

Why does Westpac charge an early termination fee for home loans?

The Westpac home loan early termination fee or break cost is applicable if you have a fixed rate home loan and repay part of or the whole outstanding amount before the fixed period ends. If you’re switching between products before the fixed period ends, you’ll pay a switching break cost and an administrative fee. 

The Westpac home loan early termination fee may not apply if you repay an amount below the prepayment threshold. The prepayment threshold is the amount Westpac allows you to repay during the fixed period outside your regular repayments.

Westpac charges this fee because when you take out a home loan, the bank borrows the funds with wholesale rates available to banks and lenders. Westpac will then work out your interest rate based on you making regular repayments for a fixed period. If you repay before this period ends, the lender may incur a loss if there is any change in the wholesale rate of interest.

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 much of a deposit do I need for a home loan from the Commonwealth bank?

The minimum deposit the Commonwealth Bank usually accepts is 10 percent of the amount you wish to borrow. However, a deposit of at least 20 percent of the amount you’re borrowing is needed if you wish to avoid Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). LMI is charged for smaller deposits to give the lender extra recourse if the borrower fails to repay their loan. 

As an alternative to LMI, some borrowers with smaller deposits may opt to pay the Commonwealth Bank’s low deposit premium fee. It is a one-time, non-refundable charge that is added to a low-deposit home loan.

The deposit and the loan amounts are used to determine the LDP -, the higher the deposit, the lower is this cost. 

When calculating how much you need to save, don’t forget to factor in other expenses like stamp duty, insurance, legal fees, and moving costs.

Does Australia have no-deposit home loans?

Australia no longer has no-deposit home loans – or 100 per cent home loans as they’re also known – because they’re regarded as too risky.

However, some lenders allow some borrowers to take out mortgages with a 5 per cent deposit.

Another option is to source a deposit from elsewhere – either by using a parental guarantee or by drawing out equity from another property.

What is a low-deposit home loan?

A low-deposit home loan is a mortgage where you need to borrow more than 80 per cent of the purchase price – in other words, your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the purchase price.

For example, if you want to buy a $500,000 property, you’ll need a low-deposit home loan if your deposit is less than $100,000 and therefore you need to borrow more than $400,000.

As a general rule, you’ll need to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance) if you take out a low-deposit home loan. You can use this LMI calculator to estimate your LMI payment.

How can I apply for a first home buyers loan with Commonwealth Bank?

Getting a home loan requires planning and research. If you are considering a home loan with the Commonwealth Bank, you can find the information you need in the buying your first home section of the bank’s website.

You can see the steps you should take before applying for the loan and use the calculators to work out how much you can borrow, what your monthly repayments would be and the upfront costs you’d likely pay.

You can also book a time with a Commonwealth first home loan specialist by calling 13 2221.

CommBank publishes a property report that may help you understand the real estate market. The bank has also created a CommBank Property App that you can use to search for property.  The link to download this app is available on the same webpage.

If you are eligible for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, CommBank will help you process your application. The scheme helps first home buyers to purchase a home with a low deposit. You can read details about this scheme here and speak with a CommBank home lending specialist to understand your options.

How much deposit will I need to buy a house?

A deposit of 20 per cent or more is ideal as it’s typically the amount a lender sees as ‘safe’. Being a safe borrower is a good position to be in as you’ll have a range of lenders to pick from, with some likely to offer up a lower interest rate as a reward. Additionally, a deposit of over 20 per cent usually eliminates the need for lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) which can add thousands to the cost of buying your home.

While you can get a loan with as little as 5 per cent deposit, it’s definitely not the most advisable way to enter the home loan market. Banks view people with low deposits as ‘high risk’ and often charge higher interest rates as a precaution. The smaller your deposit, the more you’ll also have to pay in LMI as it works on a sliding scale dependent on your deposit size.

What is Lender's Mortgage Insurance (LMI)

Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI) is an insurance policy, which protects your bank if you default on the loan (i.e. stop paying your loan). While the bank takes out the policy, you pay the premium. Generally you can ‘capitalise’ the premium – meaning that instead of paying it upfront in one hit, you roll it into the total amount you owe, and it becomes part of your regular mortgage repayments.

This additional cost is typically required when you have less than 20 per cent savings, or a loan with an LVR of 80 per cent or higher, and it can run into thousands of dollars. The policy is not transferrable, so if you sell and buy a new house with less than 20 per cent equity, then you’ll be required to foot the bill again, even if you borrow with the same lender.

Some lenders, such as the Commonwealth Bank, charge customers with a small deposit a Low Deposit Premium or LDP instead of LMI. The cost of the premium is included in your loan so you pay it off over time.

What is a bad credit home loan?

A bad credit home loan is a mortgage for people with a low credit score. Lenders regard bad credit borrowers as riskier than ‘vanilla’ borrowers, so they tend to charge higher interest rates for bad credit home loans.

If you want a bad credit home loan, you’re more likely to get approved by a small non-bank lender than by a big four bank or another mainstream lender.

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 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