Variable Rate Home Loans

Variable rate home loans typically feature low fees, redraws and extra repayment options. Just make sure you can cover the repayments if rates begin to rise. 

The comparison rate is a good place to start when researching home loan deals because it takes into account both the annual interest you will be charged plus other costs and fees related to the loan. Start your home loan comparison below.

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Variable rate home loan comparisons on Mozo - page last updated July 06, 2020

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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.

**Initial monthly repayment figures are estimates only, based on the advertised rate, loan amount and term entered. 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.

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Variable home loan rates Australia

Are you looking for a flexible home loan with low fees, an extra repayments facility and the ability to redraw on that cash? Then a variable rate home loan could be just the ticket.

But that doesn't mean there aren't some catches to watch out for. So to help you navigate the wondrous world of variable home loan rates in Australia we've created this quick cheat sheet.

Are you a first home buyer? We also have a great range of articles, tips and tools designed specifically with first timers in mind. So head on over to our dedicated first home buyers hub for everything you need to know about purchasing your first home and getting your first home loan like a pro.

What is a variable rate home loan?

A variable rate home loan is a home loan where the interest rate charged is determined by current market interest rates. This means that the interest rate can vary depending on how high or low market interest rates are.

So if market interest rates are up, then the variable interest rate on your home loan may also go up. And on the flipside of that, if market interest rates are down then the interest rate on your home loan may also go down, meaning you’ll be paying less.

Are there different types of variable rate home loans?

The great news is that as a borrower you've got a lot of choice
when it comes to variable rate home loans as these are the most popular
loan type in Australia. Most banks, credit unions and online lenders
will have a number of different variable home loan products to choose
from.

Options may include:

  • Introductory rate home loan. Sometimes called “honeymoon” rate loans, these offer a low variable rate for an initial set period (usually 1 - 3 years) which reverts to the loan’s standard variable rate once the introductory period ends. If you’re considering one of these loans be sure to check that the revert rate is competitive
    as you don’t want to end up paying more than you should be after the
    introductory rate ends. 
  • Basic home loan. Like the name suggests, you’ll get little in the way of features in return for a lower interest rate than a full feature loan. If you don’t need bells and whistles like an offset account or unlimited free extra repayments then a basic home loan could be a good money saving option.
  • Full feature loan. A full feature home loan is a loan that has flexible features and other bells and whistles like  an offset account facility, free extra repayments and free redraw. You might pay an annual or monthly service fee for a full feature home loan but the extra fees can be worth it for the added flexibility and benefit of using an offset account to reduce your interest.
  • Variable rate package. If you’re borrowing over $150,000 you may qualify for a packaged home loan, where you get a lower interest rate if you bundle other products like a credit card and bank account with your home loan provider. You will generally pay an annual package fee for this type of loan but the rate discounts can be substantial, especially if you are borrowing a large amount of money.
  • Standard variable rate. This usually refers to a 'reference rate' that the provider uses to calculate margins for the rates applied to the rest of their variable rate loan options. Standard Variable rates are not restricted by LVR or loan amount. They should have all of the flexibility options offered by the provider including offset account, loan portability and the ability to split between fixed and variable.

Variable rate home loans can help give borrowers flexibility in their home loan, since rates depend on fluctuations in the market. These interest rates can also come with minimal fees and handy repayment options, like extra repayments or a redraw facility. But that doesn’t mean you should choose any, in fact, by taking the time to shop around variable interest rates, you could wind up saving thousands over the life of your loan. Our Home Loans Interest Rates page can help you compare some of the current variable home loans rate around.

What features to look for in a variable rate home loan?

Every home loan will have its pros and cons. The challenge for every borrower is to decide on which option will best suit your financial situation and your lifestyle. Look for:

  • Competitive interest rate. Your interest rate will determine how much your repayments will be each month so you will want to put time and effort into finding a home loan with a competitive rate. Don't be swayed by low headline or honeymoon rates - be sure to also review the comparison rate which takes into account revert rates and fees over the life of the loan.
  • Flexible features. One of the top reasons for choosing a variable rate home loan over a fixed rate home loan is the features that can help you to minimise the cost of your loan. Having an offset account or making extra repayments without penalties will save you money but only if you use them. Don't pay for features you will never use.
  • Low fees. There are upfront fees that you will be required to pay when you take out the home loan like an application or valuation fee and there are ongoing fees which might be charged monthly or annually. It's important to weigh up the cost of these in relation to the interest rate you will pay on your loan. Sometimes, you
    are better off to pay a small ongoing fee to get a lower interest rate
    than to pay no fee and have a higher rate.

How do repayments for variable interest rate mortgages work?

Just like any mortgage repayments, you will be required to pay back part of your variable interest rate home loan once a month. How much you pay back each month will usually be determined by the following factors:

  • How much you borrowed initially, this is usually referred to as the principal amount of your loan.
  • The lifespan or length of your loan, this is how many years you have opted to pay back your loan over.
  • How market interest rates are doing; if market interest rates drop the interest rate on your variable interest rate home loan could also drop and vice versa.

The amount you pay each month will be a portion of the principal amount, plus interest accrued.

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JP Pelosi
Managing editor

Jean-Paul (JP) Pelosi is an experienced journalist and editor who has contributed to many of Australia's leading media outlets including The Guardian, News.com.au, Domain.com.au, Investment Magazine and ANZ's Bluenotes. He has also edited news and communications for large financial services companies such as CommBank, Suncorp, Allianz and Amex. He loves a well told story and applying his editorial experience to content that readers both care about and enjoy. JP heads up our writing team.

More Variable Rate Home Loan FAQs


Rate tiers of variable loans, what does this mean?

Many variable rate home loans have rate tiers, which means that as a borrower if you meet certain criteria you will be offered a different rate from someone who does not. For variable rate home loans these are determined by two things: how much you are borrowing and your loan to value ratio. Sometimes it can be a combination of both factors.

Loan amount: Lenders traditionally reserve their most competitive rates for borrowers who are borrowing more money. So the higher your loan amount generally the more competitive the interest rate will be. Each lender will have their own rate tier structure but as a general rule of thumb package discounts kick in when you are borrowing more than $150,000 with the size of the discount increasing in line with the size of your loan.

Loan to value ratio. The other factor that will determine the interest rate of a loan is the loan-to-value ratio or LVR. Some loans have LVR requirements of 80% and below to qualify for the most competitive rate. This means that you will need to have at least a 20% deposit or equity stake in the property to get the home loan. Some loans will allow you to borrow up to 95% but you may pay a higher interest rate and also be required to pay lenders mortgage insurance. See more about this here.


Variable rate versus fixed rate home loans, which is better?

Both fixed and variable rate home loans will have their pros and cons. As a borrower it is important not to try and 'time the market' but rather review all options carefully and choose one that is going to best suit your financial situation or comfort level. If you are nervous about the impact that a rate rise will have on your household budget then opt to fix some or all of the loan, if not, a variable loan might be more suitable.

The pros of a variable interest rate include:

lower repayments when interest rates are low

extra features like an offset account or extra repayments facility which can save you money over the life of your home loan

Fixed rate loans on the other hand make household budgeting easier as your repayments don't change over the term of the loan.

Borrowers also have the option with some lenders to split their home loan between a fixed and a variable rate. You can lock away a portion of your home loan to protect you if interest rates rise and you get to use the variable portion of your loan to put extra cash into the loan while rates are low which will save you thousands over the life of the loan. That's a win win.

How might rate changes affect my home loan?

When market interest rates drop, the variable interest rate charged on your home loan might also drop.  And when market interest rates are up, your provider might hike your home loan interest rate up to match. 

For example, if the Reserve Bank of Australia makes cuts to the official cash rate, your home loan provider may decide to pass on the full cut, or part of the cut to your home loan. It’s worth keeping in mind though, that there’s nothing to say lenders have to pass on official rate changes - it’s just recommended. 

With this in mind, taking out a variable rate home loan does mean that you will have to prepare for possible increases  in interest rates, but it also means that you could benefit from interest rate cuts that you might not benefit from if you were to take out a fixed interest rate home loan.

When is it a good idea to take out a full feature home loan?

The key reason to take out a full feature home loan is to benefit from more flexibility in how you make your repayments, which could also help you budget better and save on interest. Full feature home loans often include an offset account facility, free extra repayments and a free redraw service. 

At a minimum, this type of home loan usually comes with a free redraw facility and free extra repayments. This combination is great because you can put every spare dollar towards your mortgage and shorten the life of your loan, while the redraw facility allows you to get those funds back if you really need them.

What is an offset account?

An offset account is a transaction account that is linked to your home loan. Having this type of account means you could pay less interest on your home loan. The funds in the transaction account are offset daily against the balance of your home loan and you are only charged interest on the difference between the two.

For example, if you have a home loan of $400,000, you’ve already paid off $80,000 and you have $200,000 in an account that is being 100% offset, you would only pay interest for $120,000 of your loan. This means that you would be paying less interest, as you are being charged interest on a smaller amount.

Where can I find great variable home loan rates?

One thing to keep in mind when searching for a competitive variable interest rate home loan, is that you will probably have a lot of options. Certainly more options than you may have had, say 10 years ago.

This is definitely a good thing, because it means you can be more choosy and you won’t be restricted to what the big four banks have to offer. These days you can take out a home loan with a credit union, an online bank, a neobank and even a dedicated online home loans lender.

An online bank or lender will often have a much more competitive interest rate to offer, as it has never had to deal with the overhead costs that come with having a physical branch.

Of course while a great price is worth chasing after, it is also good to make sure you’re getting all the features and flexibility you need for that price. So when you’re comparing home loans, make sure you’re comparing the whole package, price, features and flexibility.

How can Mozo help you find the right variable rate home loan?

Now that you've read up on all the things you'll need to consider when choosing a variable rate home loan now's the time to compare your options and this is where the tools on our site come in.

First up is the market snapshot table which lists some of the current top home loan deals available from a range of lenders. You'll find this at the top of this page.

If you want to delve deeper and compare all the home loans in our database - that's over 400 home loans - use our home loan search tool which will order results based on your requirements including things like variable interest rate, monthly repayments and fees.

If you are refinancing and looking to switch home lenders we also have a tool specifically designed for you. Our free online Switch & Save Calculator compares your existing home loan against the market and gives you a personalised report showing you which home loans will save you the most in interest and fees if you switch.

We also understand that choosing a home loan can be a confusing process even when you have all the tools to do it yourself, and you sometimes just want to speak with an expert.

You can call our home loan experts on 13 MOZO (6696) or send us an online enquiry and we'll call you back. Our home loan experts can help you with everything from understanding home loan jargon through to negotiating with the banks on your behalf for a better deal.

Another unique element of our site is that you can also read up on real customer experiences with our home loans ratings hub. We've got customer reviews of major banks, credit unions even online lenders like UBank and Loans.com.au. If you want the experts' opinion, head on over to our Experts Choice Home Loans Awards page for our top picks of the best value home loans in the market.

And for the number lovers out there we've got a range of home loan calculators that you can play around with until your heart's content. We can help you work out how much you can afford to borrow to how much your repayments could be depending on the term of the loan.

Finally, you can prepare for a rate rise with our rate change calculator, which will calculate your actual monthly repayments, should interest rates go up.

If you want more information to help you make an informed decision, head on over to our guides section.

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Home Loan Reviews

Tic:Toc Variable Home Loan review
Overall 9/10
Competitive, but limitations as an online lender

The services, processes and the rate is pretty competitive. However, as an online lender, they don't support government support funds such as first home buyers benefits sort of things. You have to deal with it by yourself and they did not seem very knowledgeable about that, especially local state government supports. If you are good at that, tic toc is good.

Read full review

The services, processes and the rate is pretty competitive. However, as an online lender, they don't support government support funds such as first home buyers benefits sort of things. You have to deal with it by yourself and they did not seem very knowledgeable about that, especially local state government supports. If you are good at that, tic toc is good.

Price
10/10
Features
10/10
Customer service
10/10
Convenience
8/10
Trust
9/10
Less
Yunsik, Western Australia reviewed 3 days ago
RAMS Essential Home Loan review
Overall 10/10
I love my bank.

I love my bank. My mortgage broker goes above and beyond for me. Great price, great customer service, what more could I ask for.

Read full review

I love my bank. My mortgage broker goes above and beyond for me. Great price, great customer service, what more could I ask for.

Price
10/10
Features
10/10
Customer service
10/10
Convenience
10/10
Trust
10/10
Less
Aimee, New South Wales reviewed 7 days ago
Commonwealth Bank Standard Variable Rate (Wealth Package) review
Overall 4/10
Convenient but expensive.

Commonwealth Bank have lots of locations and fairly good customer service, however are definitely NOT the cheapest. Their home loan rates are high, they have a lot of fees, they rarely pass on any interest rate drops and they aren't flexible.

Read full review

Commonwealth Bank have lots of locations and fairly good customer service, however are definitely NOT the cheapest. Their home loan rates are high, they have a lot of fees, they rarely pass on any interest rate drops and they aren't flexible.

Price
1/10
Features
4/10
Customer service
6/10
Convenience
7/10
Trust
4/10
Less
Belinda, Queensland reviewed 7 days ago