A low deposit home loan lets you borrow more than 80% of a property’s value. It might only require a 5% deposit and let you buy your property sooner.
How small can my deposit be?
The standard deposit size for most lenders is 20% of the property’s value. In other words, borrowers need a loan-to-value ratio (LVR) of 80%. Low deposit loans come with an LVR of 90 or 95%. This means you can potentially get a mortgage with just a 5% deposit.
If you’re buying an $500,000 property, a 20% deposit is $100,000. A 5% deposit is just $25,000. That’s a huge difference.
There must be a catch, right?
There is. If you’re borrowing more than 80% of a property’s value you will have to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) as well. Depending on how much you’re borrowing this can be a significant cost, ranging from several thousand dollars up to ten or even twenty thousand dollars.
In some cases, with some lenders, you can capitalise your LMI, meaning you can add this cost into your borrowing amount. But this can affect how much you can borrow.
The low deposit trap: Be sure you have cash to cover all your costs
Saving a 5% deposit is much easier than saving a 20% deposit. But you need to make sure you have money saved up to cover all your other home buying costs.
This includes LMI, stamp duty, government fees, conveyancing costs and upfront lender’s fees.
Don’t forget to add in things like legal fees, conveyancing fees and transfer fees to your total.
Is it harder to get approved for a low deposit home loan?
While the banks might advertise that you can borrow up to 95% of the purchase price of your new home, it’s important to realise that lending criteria still apply:
- Good credit history. In order to get your loan approved at a high LVR like 95%, you will need to have a clean credit history. This means you should have no defaults showing on your credit report for missed payments on other bills.
- Good employment history. You will also need to demonstrate that you have a stable employment history. This means showing that you’ve been in the same job for at least 6-12 months, or been working within the same industry in a similar role.
- Genuine savings. If you can show where your 5% savings amount came from, this will go in your favour. For example, showing your savings account statements with regular deposits going into it will be viewed favourably.
- Good asset position. The credit assessor will view your existing assets and consider them in terms of whether you’re doing well based on your age and income. For example, if you’re a first home buyer and you have 5% savings and a car, this may be considered a positive asset position for your age and income.
- Controlled debts. If you submit your home loan application and it shows that you have several credit cards, a car loan, and a personal loan all outstanding, it’s likely your loan will be declined. Consolidate your debts and pay off the most urgent ones. Credit card debt is a bigger red flag for a lender than an HECS student debt, for example.
Can I still get a no deposit home loan?
True no deposit mortgages are largely a thing of the past. Most banks won’t throw 100% of a property’s value at you. But there are some exceptions to this rule. These exceptions could be very useful for borrowers who are having trouble saving a deposit.
- Gifted deposit. If you have generous parents with some cash in the bank, they can give you part of your deposit as a gift. If you’re able to reduce your loan amount so you’re only borrowing 90% of the purchase price, some banks won’t ask you to prove that you have genuine savings. This means mum and dad need to come up with 10% of the purchase price and offer it to you as a gift. Learn more about using parental gifts as deposits.
- Guarantee from parents. If your parents own their home and they are happy to act as guarantors on your mortgage, you could borrow 100% of the purchase price of your new home without having any savings. Essentially, the bank takes a guarantee from your parents that is secured by the equity they have in their own property. Just be absolutely sure that you and your parents understand all the implications of guarantorship before you enter into this type of agreement.
- Existing property. If you already have equity in your family home, you may be able to use this to secure the purchase for your next property. Effectively, this lets you borrow 100% of the purchase price of your new property without having any savings.