The Lenders Mortgage Insurance trap hurting Aussie budgets

Monika Gudova

29 Nov 2018

People couple stress home loan content

Thousands of Australians refinance their home loan each year^ on the hunt for a lower home loan rate, and in result, more money in their back pockets.  

But with Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) weighing on the minds of wishful refinancers that haven’t built up enough equity in their home to qualify for an LVR of 80% or lower, Mozo Property Expert Steve Jovcevski has called for an end to “double dipping” on mortgage insurance.

“With billions of dollars in loans attracting mortgage insurance, borrowers who haven’t built up 20% equity are staring at the financially painful prospect of paying LMI twice,” he said.

“It’s time for lenders to act to protect their most vulnerable borrowers. Giving people the ability to transfer their insurance to a lender with a more competitive interest rate will significantly improve their chances of building equity in their home.”

RELATED: First home buyers optimistic about buying a property, says Westpac

Jovcevski also noted that if you have less than 20% equity on your home and have already paid LMI once, “the news of falling property prices is your worst nightmare.”

“Getting to 20% equity is the goal of all first home owners, but declining prices put paid to any opportunity they have of refinancing at a cheaper interest rate without being slugged by LMI a second time.”

Lenders Mortgage insurance, which is a one-off payment that protects lenders in the event you default on your mortgage, was charged on 1 in 5 loans in the last financial year. It's a cost that can stack up to six or more months of mortgage repayments, and Jovcevski has long been a proponent of making LMI portable, or for refunds to be more readily given

“It’s time lenders allowed this insurance to be transferred across loans without penalty,” he said.

“Making this simple change to lenders mortgage insurance will go a long way to ease the cost of living and significantly reduce the risk of defaults.”

If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and decided that refinancing is right for you, your next step is looking around for the low rate home loan of your dreams.

Check out some great offers below, or head to our home loan comparison tool for a wider selection.

Variable rate home loans

Rates updated daily. Advertiser disclosure.

  • loans.com.au
    Mozo Expert Choice Badge" style="width:60px;">

    1.85% p.a.variable for 24 months and then 2.25% p.a.

    2.21% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Smart Booster Home Loan

    2 Year Discounted Variable Rate, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, <80% LVR

    1.85% p.a.variable for 24 months and then 2.25% p.a.

    2.21% p.a.

    New super low introductory rate home loan for two years. Min 20% deposit. No monthly or ongoing fees. Fast settlement times. Mozo award-winning online lender. Friendly, local Australian based team.

    Smart Booster Home Loan

    New super low introductory rate home loan for two years. Min 20% deposit. No monthly or ongoing fees. Fast settlement times. Mozo award-winning online lender. Friendly, local Australian based team.

    • 1.85% p.a.variable for 24 months and then 2.25% p.a.

    • 2.21% p.a.

    • $520

    • $0.00

    • $0.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • Optional - with 0.10% additional interest

    • 80.00%

    • $520

    • $50,000

    • $1,000,000

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Smart Booster Home Loan

    Details Close

  • Athena
    Mozo Expert Choice Badge" style="width:60px;">

    1.99% p.a.

    1.99% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Celebrate Variable Home Loan

    <60% LVR, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest

    1.99% p.a.

    1.99% p.a.

    Fast and efficient online application. Automatic discounts as loan is paid down. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Zero fees. Min 40% deposit required. Winner of three Mozo Expert's Choice Awards for 2021.

    Celebrate Variable Home Loan

    Fast and efficient online application. Automatic discounts as loan is paid down. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Zero fees. Min 40% deposit required. Winner of three Mozo Expert's Choice Awards for 2021.

    • 1.99% p.a.

    • 1.99% p.a.

    • $0

    • $0.00

    • $0.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • no

    • 60.00%

    • $0

    • $100,000

    • $2,000,000

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Celebrate Variable Home Loan

    Details Close

  • Macquarie

    2.14% p.a.

    2.14% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Basic Home Loan

    Owner Occupier, LVR<60%, Principal & Interest

    2.14% p.a.

    2.14% p.a.

    Competitive low variable rate. No application or account management fees. Flexibility to split your loan and set different repayment types. Fee free withdrawals of your savings.

    Basic Home Loan

    Competitive low variable rate. No application or account management fees. Flexibility to split your loan and set different repayment types. Fee free withdrawals of your savings.

    • 2.14% p.a.

    • 2.14% p.a.

    • $0

    • $0.00

    • $400.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • no

    • 60.00%

    • $0

    • $150,000

    • $5,000,000

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Monthly

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Basic Home Loan

    Details Close

  • Yard
    Mozo Expert Choice Badge" style="width:60px;">

    1.99% p.a.

    2.02% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Variable Home Loan Special

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR <70%

    1.99% p.a.

    2.02% p.a.

    Special rate applies to home loan applications submitted by 31 October 2021. Unlimited additional repayments, free redraw, 100% offset account. 30% deposit required. Simple online application. Low Cost Home Loan winner in the Mozo Expert's Choice Awards for 2021.

    Variable Home Loan Special

    Special rate applies to home loan applications submitted by 31 October 2021. Unlimited additional repayments, free redraw, 100% offset account. 30% deposit required. Simple online application. Low Cost Home Loan winner in the Mozo Expert's Choice Awards for 2021.

    • 1.99% p.a.

    • 2.02% p.a.

    • $794

    • $0.00

    • $500.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • Optional - $10 per month

    • 70.00%

    • $794

    • $150,000

    • $1,500,000

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    • Special rate applies to home loan applications submitted by 31 October 2021.

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Variable Home Loan Special

    Details Close

  • UBank
    Mozo Expert Choice Badge" style="width:60px;">

    2.34% p.a.

    2.34% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    UHomeLoan - Discount Offer

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest

    2.34% p.a.

    2.34% p.a.

    Enjoy a super low rate. $0 fees to consider. Fast and easy online application. Free redraw and free extra repayments. Flexible payment terms. Min 20% deposit required.

    UHomeLoan - Discount Offer

    Enjoy a super low rate. $0 fees to consider. Fast and easy online application. Free redraw and free extra repayments. Flexible payment terms. Min 20% deposit required.

    • 2.34% p.a.

    • 2.34% p.a.

    • $0

    • $0.00

    • $0.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • no

    • 80.00%

    • $0

    • $100,000

    • -

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the UHomeLoan - Discount Offer

    Details Close

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Home loans Awards

Mortgage tips to avoid paying LMI twice

If you’re one of the thousands of Aussies looking to refinance their home loan, but are hitting a wall when faced with prospects of having to pay LMI again, here are some ways to avoid the unnecessary expense:

  • Save a 20% deposit before buying. The best cure is prevention, and if you’re able to save up a deposit of 20% of the loan amount or more (<80%LVR), you won’t have to deal with lenders mortgage insurance in the first place.
  • Ask for a refund on your LMI premium. If you’re within the first or second year of your loan and decide to refinance, there’s a chance you could receive a partial refund of your LMI premium. No lender or insurer is the same, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.
  • Pay down your loan amount before you switch. If you’re close to owning 20% of your property, it could be worth waiting until you have enough equity to switch without a hitch. This way, you’ll reap the full rewards of refinancing as you’re not putting your extra cash towards LMI.
  • Ask your parents to be guarantors. You can avoid pesky LMI premiums by asking your parents to put their name next to yours on a home loan application. But since their home will be secured against your loan, it’s important you stay on top of repayments.

^ABS Housing Finance, Australia, September 2018

*APRA Quarterly Property Exposures