If your family only has one income to live on, you may assume it’s impossible for you to get a home loan. However, that may not be the case. 

Getting a home loan on a single income can be more challenging than applying for a mortgage as a dual income household, but it’s still possible to meet your monthly repayments and own your own home. 

Single income home loans may require careful financial planning, so it’s often worth getting advice from a mortgage broker before making an application.

Find and compare single income home loans

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2.19%

Variable

2.22%

Yard

$1,299

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 70%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.86

/ 5
More details

2.19%

Variable

2.23%

Reduce Home Loans

$1,299

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 70%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.91

/ 5
More details

2.29%

Variable

2.33%

Mortgage House

$1,314

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 60%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.47

/ 5
More details

2.29%

Variable

2.33%

Mortgage House

$1,314

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 60%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.47

/ 5
More details

2.34%

Variable

2.34%

Athena Home Loans

$1,322

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 60%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.68

/ 5
More details

2.09%

Fixed - 2 years

2.35%

Tic Toc

$1,285

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 90%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.48

/ 5
More details

2.39%

Variable

2.36%

Athena Home Loans

$1,329

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 70%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.57

/ 5
More details

1.98%

Fixed - 1 year

2.38%

Homestar Finance

$1,269

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.46

/ 5
More details

2.06%

Fixed - 3 years

2.38%

Homestar Finance

$1,280

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.66

/ 5
More details

2.44%

Variable

2.38%

Athena Home Loans

$1,337

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.46

/ 5
More details

1.90%

Fixed - 1 year

2.42%

Reduce Home Loans

$1,257

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.69

/ 5
More details

2.19%

Fixed - 3 years

2.45%

Macquarie Bank

$1,299

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 70%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.57

/ 5
More details

2.14%

Fixed - 1 year

2.46%

UBank

$1,292

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

2.00

/ 5
More details

1.99%

Intro 12 months

2.47%

loans.com.au

$1,343

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.64

/ 5
More details

2.49%

Variable

2.49%

UBank

$1,344

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.47

/ 5
More details

2.59%

Fixed - 5 years

2.53%

UBank

$1,359

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

2.63

/ 5
More details

Learn more about home loans

What are single income home loans?

Almost any home loan could serve as a single income home loan if your income is sufficient to service the debt. If you have a lower income, you may only be able to borrow a smaller sum, which could limit the types of properties you can purchase. But if you’re on a higher income (for example, if you’re a doctor), you may be able to borrow more and have more property choices available to you. 

However, if you’re managing not just your home loan repayments, but also all of your other day-to-day living expenses on a single income, you may find yourself at a higher risk of ending up in mortgage stress. You may need to provide plenty of documentation regarding your income, debts and other assets to demonstrate you can comfortably afford the loan repayments.  

Saving up a home loan deposit on a single income can also be a challenge, especially if you’re already juggling other household expenses. Support from a guarantor may be able to help you apply for a home loan sooner. 

How do I compare home loans on a single income?

It’s important to research which home loan options may best suit your financial circumstances when you’re on a single income. 

Many borrowers start their home loan search by looking at the interest rates of different home loan deals – the lower the rate, the cheaper the repayments may be. Keep in mind that the lowest interest rates are typically offered to the “safest” borrowers, with higher incomes and larger deposits. 

As well as looking at the interest rates of different home loans, it’s also worth considering what fees different lenders may charge. Each home loan has a comparison rate that combines the cost of interest with its standard fees and charges, to give you a better idea of the offers that may prove more expensive overall. 

Some home loan special offers may appeal to borrowers on a single income. Some lenders don’t charge upfront fees on their home loans, or offer special discounted introductory rates that could help you save money at the start of your mortgage. Remember that these introductory “honeymoon” rates will eventually revert to a higher interest rate, so make sure you’re confident you’ll still be able to afford the loan in the future. 

What features should I look for in a single income home loan?

The best home loan features for you will depend on your financial situation and personal preferences.  

Some borrowers on single incomes prefer a home loan with a fixed interest rate for simpler budgeting, as this will keep the repayments consistent for a limited time. Others prefer a variable interest rate, which may rise or fall during your loan term, but is more likely to have flexible payment options available. 

The ability to make extra home loan repayments can help you pay off your home faster and save money on interest charges. If you find yourself in a tough spot, you may be able to use a redraw facility to take these extra repayments back out of your loan when you need them. And an offset account lets you use your spare savings to help reduce the interest charged on your mortgage.  

What are the risks to consider with a single income home loan?

Being on a single income means that lenders are more likely to consider you a riskier prospect than families with dual incomes – if something happens to your single income, you could quickly find yourself unable to afford your repayments, and end up defaulting on your loan. This means that when you apply for a home loan on a single income, your lender may undertake some fairly forensic investigation of your personal finances to help make sure you can comfortably afford the mortgage. 

Being on a single income could also mean that unexpected fees, charges and other costs could affect you more than they might affect dual-income households. It’s important to check the terms and conditions of any mortgage offer before making an application to help ensure that you’re aware of all the potential costs involved, and can budget accordingly. 

If you’re concerned about the potential risks of applying for a home loan on a single income, consider contacting a mortgage broker first. These home loan experts can help you find and compare mortgage offers that can suit your financial situation, and walk you through the application process to help you save time and effort. 

Frequently asked questions

What is a debt service ratio?

A method of gauging a borrower’s home loan serviceability (ability to afford home loan repayments), the debt service ratio (DSR) is the fraction of an applicant’s income that will need to go towards paying back a loan. The DSR is typically expressed as a percentage, and lenders may decline loans to borrowers with too high a DSR (often over 30 per cent).

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 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 much money can I borrow for a home loan?

Tip: You can use RateCity how much can I borrow calculator to get a quick answer.

How much money you can borrow for a home loan will depend on a number of factors including your employment status, your income (and your partner’s income if you are taking out a joint loan), the size of your deposit, your living expenses and any other debt you might hold, including credit cards. 

A good place to start is to work out how much you can afford to make in monthly repayments, factoring in a buffer of at least 2 – 3 per cent to allow for interest rate rises along the way. You’ll also need to factor in additional costs that come with purchasing a property such as stamp duty, legal fees, building inspections, strata or council fees.

If you are planning on renting the property, you can factor in the expected rental income to help offset the mortgage, but again it’s prudent to add a significant buffer to allow for rental management fees, maintenance costs and short periods of no rental income when tenants move out. It’s also wise to factor in changes in personal circumstances – the typical home loan lasts for around 30 years and a lot can happen between now and then.

Can I change jobs while I am applying for a home loan?

Whether you’re a new borrower or you’re refinancing your home loan, many lenders require you to be in a permanent job with the same employer for at least 6 months before applying for a home loan. Different lenders have different requirements. 

If your work situation changes for any reason while you’re applying for a mortgage, this could reduce your chances of successfully completing the process. Contacting the lender as soon as you know your employment situation is changing may allow you to work something out. 

I have a poor credit rating. Am I still able to get a mortgage?

Some lenders still allow you to apply for a home loan if you have impaired credit. However, you may pay a slightly higher interest rate and/or higher fees. This is to help offset the higher risk that you may default on your repayments.

What are extra repayments?

Additional payments to your home loan above the minimum monthly instalments, which can help to reduce the loan’s term and remaining payable interest.

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 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.

Does Australia have no cost refinancing?

No Cost Refinancing is an option available in the US where the lender or broker covers your switching costs, such as appraisal fees and settlement costs. Unfortunately, no cost refinancing isn’t available in Australia.

Can I get a home loan if I am on an employment contract?

Some lenders will allow you to apply for a mortgage if you are a contractor or freelancer. However, many lenders prefer you to be in a permanent, ongoing role, because a more stable income means you’re more likely to keep up with your repayments.

If you’re a contractor, freelancer, or are otherwise self-employed, it may still be possible to apply for a low-doc home loan, as these mortgages require less specific proof of income.

Will I have to pay lenders' mortgage insurance twice if I refinance?

If your deposit was less than 20 per cent of your property’s value when you took out your original loan, you may have paid lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI) to cover the lender against the risk that you may default on your repayments. 

If you refinance to a new home loan, but still don’t have enough deposit and/or equity to provide 20 per cent security, you’ll need to pay for the lender’s LMI a second time. This could potentially add thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in upfront costs to your mortgage, so it’s important to consider whether the financial benefits of refinancing may be worth these costs.

Is there a limit to how many times I can refinance?

There is no set limit to how many times you are allowed to refinance. Some surveyed RateCity users have refinanced up to three times.

However, if you refinance several times in short succession, it could affect your credit score. Lenders assess your credit score when you apply for new loans, so if you end up with bad credit, you may not be able to refinance if and when you really need to.

Before refinancing multiple times, consider getting a copy of your credit report and ensure your credit history is in good shape for future refinances.

I can't pick a loan. Should I apply to multiple lenders?

Applying for home loans with multiple lenders at once can affect your credit history, as multiple loan applications in short succession can make you look like a risky borrower. Comparing home loans from different lenders, assessing their features and benefits, and making one application to a preferred lender may help to improve your chances of success

Will I be paying two mortgages at once when I refinance?

No, given the way the loan and title transfer works, you will not have to pay two mortgages at the one time. You will make your last monthly repayment on loan number one and then the following month you will start paying off loan number two.

If I don't like my new lender after I refinance, can I go back to my previous lender?

If you wish to return to your previous lender after refinancing, you will have to go through the refinancing process again and pay a second set of discharge and upfront fees. 

Therefore, before you refinance, it’s important to weigh up the new prospective lender against your current lender in a number of areas, including fees, flexibility, customer service and interest rate.

Can I refinance if I have other products bundled with my home loan?

If your home loan was part of a package deal that included access to credit cards, transaction accounts or term deposits from the same lender, switching all of these over to a new lender can seem daunting. However, some lenders offer to manage part of this process for you as an incentive to refinance with them – contact your lender to learn more about what they offer.

How do I know if I have to pay LMI?

Each lender has its own policies, but as a general rule you will have to pay lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) if your loan-to-value ratio (LVR) exceeds 80 per cent. This applies whether you’re taking out a new home loan or you’re refinancing.

If you’re looking to buy a property, you can use this LMI calculator to work out how much you’re likely to be charged in LMI.