Are there home loan programs for veterans and active military personnel?

With many Australians currently wondering how they can enter the housing market, some currently (or previously) serving members of the Australian Defense Force may be wondering if there are any government home loan programs they can participate in.

The short answer is—yes, there are programs for both veterans and currently active members of the ADF. 

What home loan assistance is there for veterans and military personnel?

The Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) currently lists two active home loan subsidy schemes that are intended for veterans, ADF personnel, and their dependents. 

  • Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme (DHOAS) is intended for current or former members of the ADF who served on or after 1 July 2008. Just keep in mind that you need to have completed a qualifying period of service and accrued sufficient entitlement.
  • Defence Service Homes (DSH) Scheme is available to ADF members who completed a qualifying period of service before 15 May 1985 or for those who served in Namibia between 18 February 1989 and 10 April 1990.

The DHOAS is partly used to encourage service personal to stay active in the ADF for longer by offering subsidy tiers with the first tier for active personal being a minimum service of 2 years and a subsidised loan of $402,159 (2022-23 numbers). 

Some of the banks that provide DHOAS home loans are Defence Bank, Australian Military Bank and NAB. Westpac provides the loan for the DSH scheme which is a maximum loan of $25,000. 

How can veterans and military personnel save for a home loan deposit?

It’s important to have enough money for your home loan deposit, whether you choose to use a DVA scheme or not. That being said, it can be difficult to know how much you should save and how long it will take.

In general, you’ll want to aim towards having a deposit that is worth 20% of the property value. This means that if you were to save for a home worth $800,000, you’d need a deposit of $160,000. 

To save towards getting the amount you need, it’s a good idea to employ some saving strategies such as budgeting, opening a high interest savings account, and cutting any unnecessary spending. 

What can veterans and military personnel do to improve their credit score?

One of the ways to help smooth the home loan approval process is to improve your credit score. Banks will use a credit score to try and assess how risky of a borrower you are. The lower the credit score, the higher your interest rate will tend to be.

However, if you’ve been making a lot of effort to improve your credit worthiness, banks can usually take note of this, so it’s worth trying to instill good financial habits now. 

Some of the ways you can improve your credit score is by:

  • paying your credit card and loans on time
  • building up your savings
  • regularly paying off debt
  • checking your credit report 

A good credit score is important regardless of whether you’re saving for a home loan, a car, or a personal loan. 

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* WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.

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