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Types of home loans in Australia

In Australia, there are plenty of different home loans available to cater to different borrowers. Below, we break down the main types of home loans out there to help you find the one that suits your financial situation.

Types of home loan interest rates

When looking for a home loan, figuring out the kind of interest rate that works for your situation is an important first step. 

1. Variable interest rate

The more popular home loan option in Australia are variable rates. These  rates can be hiked at the provider's discretion, but usually change in response to the RBA decision on whether to hike, hold, or cut the cash rate. 

Because they can change immediately though, variable rate loans can offer more flexibility. You’ll be able to take advantage of features like an offset account to help save on interest, as well as switch to another provider without incurring any break costs (as you would with fixed rate loans).

If you’re leaning towards a variable rate home loan, make sure you understand how your repayments will be affected in the event of a rate hike. Punch in your details into a rate change calculator to get an idea.

2. Fixed interest rate

If a variable rate loan isn’t right for you, you can opt for a fixed rate instead. This locks your interest rate at a set amount for a period of between one to five years (though some lenders offer terms as long as ten years).

The biggest drawcard of a fixed rate loan is that your repayments will remain consistent for the duration of the term. This makes this type of home loan popular for first home buyers and those on a strict budget.

Just be mindful that fixed rates are typically more expensive than variable rates. That’s because lenders consider where the interest rate environment is heading when pricing their fixed rates and try to get ahead of the curve.

3. Split interest rate

If you’re finding it hard to choose between rates, you can consider splitting your loan. This involves dividing your loan into two (or more) accounts, one with a fixed rate and one with a variable rate.

The size of each portion will be up to you. For example, if you opt for a 60:40 split on a $500,000 home loan, $300,000 would be subject to a fixed rate while $200,000 would be subject to a variable rate.

The portion you lock in won’t be impacted by any changes in the market, while the variable portion will allow you to take advantage of features that aren’t typically available on a fixed rate loan, such as an offset account.

4. Interest only loans

One method of bringing down your monthly repayments is opting for an interest only loan, which will only require you to pay down the interest for a set period. 

This is a popular type of home loan for investors, as negative gearing means you may be able to get a refund on the interest when putting through your tax return.

It also bears mentioning that interest only periods don’t last forever (usually up to 7 years) and you will need to start paying down both the interest and principal after the interest only term comes to an end.

Home loan deposit types

While lenders generally require a deposit of at least 20% the property’s value, many won’t rule out lending to borrowers with a much smaller deposit. They just require you to purchase lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI).

LMI protects the lender if it turns out you can’t repay the home loan. Depending on the purchase price and the size of your deposit, it can cost you anywhere from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

1. Low deposit loans

A low deposit home loan is when a provider lets a borrower take out a loan with a deposit that is below the <20%. These usually range between an LVR of 85-95%. 

If you are eligible for the Family Home Guarantee (FHG) however, there are a few providers on our database that offer home loans with deposits as small as 2%. 

2. Guarantor loans

Many first home buyers ask a family member to go guarantor to avoid paying LMI and improve the chances their loan is approved. However, instead of LMI, a portion of the guarantor’s home is used as security for the loan instead.

While this type of home loan has its advantages (as you’ll get into the property market sooner), you and your guarantor should always weigh up the risks involved before signing up as guarantor. 

Home loan purpose types

The purpose of your home loan can influence the type a provider will offer you. Here are some of the specific home loan types you might find: 

1. Investment loans

Owner-occupiers and investors require different types of home loans. If you intend to live in the property you’ll be considered an owner occupier, whereas if you plan to rent it out or flip it you’ll be considered an investor.

Since investors are considered higher risk, the rates tend to be a bit higher. Banks also face pressure from APRA to keep the share of investors on their loan books within a healthy range.

So if you’re an investor with a low deposit (and therefore a higher loan-to-value ratio), you may face a steeper rate than someone purchasing as an owner occupier. To see which loans are investor friendly, browse our investment loans hub.

2. Construction loans

Borrowers looking to build their home rather than purchase an established one can take out a construction loan. This differs from a conventional home loan in a few key ways. Firstly, funds are made available in instalments as your home is being built and are paid directly to the builder, not to you.

Secondly, you’ll only pay interest on the loan, at least until the construction process is complete. Interest will only be charged on the amount that has been released by your lender so far. So if you’ve drawn $50,000 on a $300,000 loan, interest will only be charged on that $50,000.

3. Green home loans

If you’re part of the large number of Australians who want to make their homes more green in order to fight against the climate crisis, a green home loan may be a good choice for you.

A green home loan is a specialised loan for borrowers who want to purchase or build an environmentally friendly home. You’ll need to comply with the lender’s sustainable home criteria before you may qualify for their green home loan.

4. Low doc home loans

If you’re self-employed or work as a freelancer, you probably don’t have the same documentation other borrowers are required to provide when applying for a loan.

A low doc home loan lets those who aren’t salaried employees apply for a home loan without the standard paperwork, at a cost in the form of a higher interest rate. Some documentation will still be required (such as a business activity statement and a borrower’s income declaration).

Full feature home loans

If you want a range of flexible features, then you can opt for a home loan with all the bells and whistles. Just keep in mind you’ll usually be charged higher interest rates and fees. Here are some of the common features to keep an eye out for:

  • Offset account: This is a great feature for bringing down the amount of interest you pay, as any money in the account will be offset against the principal of the loan. So if you have a balance of $30,000 in your offset account and $500,000 owing on your mortgage, you would only pay interest on $470,000.
  • Extra repayments: Another way to bring down the interest charged is by making additional repayments on top of the minimum amount required by your lender.
  • Redraw facility: If your circumstances change and you need a little cash, a redraw facility will let you access any extra repayments you’ve made on your home loan.
  • Home loan top up: If you need money for things like a home reno or new car, a home loan top up will let you borrow additional funds against the equity you’ve built up in your property.

Kick things off by heading to our home loan comparison page, where you’ll be able to filter your search by rate and type. You can also browse the selection below for an idea of what’s currently available.

Mozo may receive payment if you click the products below. We don’t compare the entire market, but you can search our database of 473 home loans.
Last updated 15 June 2024 Important disclosures and comparison rate warning*
  • Basic Home Loan

    Fixed, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR<70%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.25% p.a.
    fixed 3 years
    6.20% p.a.

    No upfront or ongoing fees. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Option to earn Qantas points. Min 30% deposit required. Borrow up to $750,000.

  • Variable Home Loan 90

    Principal and Interest, LVR <90%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.04% p.a. variable
    6.06% p.a.

    Affordable home loan rate for buyers or refinancers. No monthly or ongoing fees. Option to add an offset for 0.10%. Access to savings with unlimited redraws available. Minimum 10% deposit required.

  • The Better Home Loan Special Offer

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR<80%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.14% p.a. variable
    6.14% p.a.

    Enjoy a variable rate home loan with a bunch of features from Police Credit Union. Make extra repayments at any time without penalty. No monthly, annual or upfront fees. Free online redraw. Minimum 20% deposit. Qualifying criteria applies. Minimum loan amount is 200K. For new customers only. Mozo Experts Choice Home Lender Credit Union of the Year 2023.

  • Discount Variable Home Loan

    Owner Occupier, LVR<70%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    5.99% p.a. variable
    6.01% p.a.

    A low rate home loan for owner-occupiers packed with great features including unlimited extra repayments, free online redraw, no application or monthly admin fees. Rate will vary depending on LVR. Winner of a Mozo Experts Choice 2024 Low Cost Home Loan Award^

  • Discounted Home Value Loan

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR 70-80%

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.09% p.a. variable
    6.09% p.a.

    Enjoy competitive rates for owner occupiers. Enjoy unlimited free extra repayments. Flexibility to redraw additional payments for free. No ongoing monthly service fee. Settlement fee waived on new borrowings from $50,000 (T&Cs apply).

Cameron Thomson
Cameron Thomson
Money writer

Cameron has a Bachelor of Creative Writing and History, and a background in broadcast media from his time at 2SER Radio. This diverse set of skills has informed his analytical yet creative approach to dissecting financial data and uncovering long-term trends in consumer finance. Cameron is RG146 certified for Generic Knowledge and keeps a keen eye on current and historical deposit and savings rates on the Mozo database. Cameron is also interested in tracking the investment space, particularly share trading platforms, to help Aussie consumers save and invest their money more wisely.

* 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.

** Initial monthly repayment figures are estimates only, based on the advertised rate. You can change the loan amount and term in the input boxes at the top of this table. Rates, fees and charges and therefore the total cost of the loan may vary depending on your loan amount, loan term, and credit history. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards

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