Why is it important to compare cheap home loans?

The simplest way to find a cheap home loan is to look for the mortgage offering the lowest interest rate. But this may not be the cheapest option available, or the best mortgage for you.

 Some home loans with low interest rates charge higher fees than you expect. This can make them much more expensive in the long run. 

 Other home loans offer features and benefits, which can help you save even more money on your home loan, or let you enjoy more value from your mortgage.

What is a comparison rate?

A quick and simple way to work out which home loan may be the cheapest is to look at the comparison rate. This figure combines a home loan’s interest rate with its standard fees and charges.

A home loan’s comparison rate can give you a better idea of its total cost.

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Product
Advertised Rate
Comparison Rate*
Company
Monthly Repayment
Features
Real Time Rating™
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3.27%

Variable

3.28%

HSBC

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 90%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

4.00

/ 5
More details

3.19%

Fixed - 3 years

3.74%

Heritage Bank

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 95%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

4.08

/ 5
More details

3.09%

Variable

3.05%

Athena Home Loans

$1.4k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

4.15

/ 5
More details

3.36%

Variable

3.39%

IMB Bank

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 90%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.87

/ 5
More details

3.49%

Variable

3.45%

Athena Home Loans

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.53

/ 5
More details

3.59%

Variable

3.49%

Athena Home Loans

$898

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.10

/ 5
More details

3.59%

Variable

3.24%

Athena Home Loans

$898

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.10

/ 5
More details

3.33%

Variable

3.38%

CUA

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 90%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.86

/ 5
More details

2.88%

Variable

2.90%

loans.com.au

$1.4k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

4.35

/ 5
More details

3.09%

Variable

3.09%

UBank

$1.4k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

4.27

/ 5
More details

2.99%

Fixed - 3 years

3.45%

UBank

$1.4k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.54

/ 5
More details

2.89%

Fixed - 3 years

3.29%

Virgin Money

$1.4k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 90%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

4.14

/ 5
More details

3.58%

Fixed - 5 years

4.18%

Newcastle Permanent

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 95%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.53

/ 5
More details

3.49%

Variable

3.49%

UBank

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.65

/ 5
More details

3.58%

Fixed - 4 years

4.21%

Newcastle Permanent

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 95%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.37

/ 5
More details

3.32%

Variable

3.37%

Heritage Bank

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.88

/ 5
More details

2.89%

Fixed - 2 years

3.31%

Virgin Money

$1.4k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 90%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.99

/ 5
More details

3.19%

Fixed - 5 years

3.44%

UBank

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.62

/ 5
More details

3.49%

Fixed - 5 years

3.85%

UBank

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

3.17

/ 5
More details

3.37%

Variable

3.75%

Heritage Bank

$1.5k

Redraw facility
Offset Account
Borrow up to 80%
Extra Repayments
Interest Only
Owner Occupied

4.03

/ 5
More details

Learn more about home loans

What makes a cheap home loan?

  • Low interest rates: The lower the rate on your home loan, the less interest you'll be charged with each repayment
  • Low fees: Home loan fees may include upfront fees (charged when you complete an application) and ongoing fees (monthly or annual fees to help cover your loan's admin costs)
  • Useful, money-saving features: Used carefully, some home loan features can help you save more money on your loan.

Can I refinance to a cheap home loan?

Do you wish you home loan was cheaper? You may be able to get a more affordable deal by refinancing.

Refinancing a home loan involves switching to a new mortgage, often with a new lender. Choosing a loan with lower rates, cheaper fees, or more useful features and benefits can help you enjoy more value from your loan.

Which home loan features can help me save money?

Extra repayments

Making more than the minimum required repayments onto your home loan may not sound like it would make your mortgage cheaper. But the more money you can pay onto your mortgage in the short term, the less you may pay in total over the long term.

Extra repayments on your home loan directly reduce the principal you owe. Interest on this amount is then compounded daily. This means the more money you can pay off your loan, and the faster you can pay it, the more you could reduce your future interest charges.

Make enough extra payments on your home loan, and you may be able to pay off your home. Getting out of debt sooner can make a big impact on the total interest you’ll pay.

Redraw facility

Paying extra onto your home loan is a simple way to shrink your interest charges. But what if you’re hit with surprise expenses and your savings are tied up in your mortgage?

A redraw facility lets you to take your extra repayments back out of your home loan if you need this money back in the bank. This means you can confidently make extra repayments to save on interest, as you can redraw these extra repayments in case of emergency.

Offset account

Another way to shrink your home loan interest charges while enjoying easier access to your money is to use an offset account. This is a savings or transaction account that’s linked to your home loan. Any money in your offset account will be included when calculating your interest charges.

For example, imagine you have a mortgage with $350,000 owing. You also have $10,000 saved in your offset account. You'll be charged interest as if you only owed $340,000, rather than $350,000.

Look out for fees

Some lenders charge extra fees for using a redraw facility or offset account. Plus, home loans with more features may have higher rates and ongoing fees than simpler offers.

To find the cheapest home loan for you, it’s important to calculate if you’ll get more value from the features and benefits than you’ll pay in fees and charges.

Can I get a cheap home loan if I have a bad credit history?

If you’ve had money trouble in the past, you may have a bad credit history. This may make it harder to get a cheap home loan.

Many lenders offer the lowest interest rates to borrowers with good or excellent credit scores. If you have bad credit, you may need to look for lenders who specialise in non-conforming loans or low-doc loans. These loans tend to charge higher interest rates and fees, due to the higher risk to the lender. You may also need to pay a higher deposit, which can take longer to save.

To get a cheap home loan with bad credit, you may need to spend some time improving your credit history. This may involve practicing good financial habits, like checking your credit history, paying off outstanding debts, and paying bills on time.

Frequently asked questions

How do I refinance my home loan?

Refinancing your home loan can involve a bit of paperwork but if you are moving on to a lower rate, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long-run. The first step is finding another loan on the market that you think will save you money over time or offer features that your current loan does not have. Once you have selected a couple of loans you are interested in, compare them with your current loan to see if you will save money in the long term on interest rates and fees. Remember to factor in any break fees and set up fees when assessing the cost of switching.

Once you have decided on a new loan it is simply a matter of contacting your existing and future lender to get the new loan set up. Beware that some lenders will revert your loan back to a 25 or 30 year term when you refinance which may mean initial lower repayments but may cost you more in the long run.

How can I pay off my home loan faster?

The quickest way to pay off your home loan is to make regular extra contributions in addition to your monthly repayments to pay down the principal as fast as possible. This in turn reduces the amount of interest paid overall and shortens the length of the loan.

Another option may be to increase the frequency of your payments to fortnightly or weekly, rather than monthly, which may then reduce the amount of interest you are charged, depending on how your lender calculates repayments.

Who has the best home loan?

Determining who has the ‘best’ home loan really does depend on your own personal circumstances and requirements. It may be tempting to judge a loan merely on the interest rate but there can be added value in the extras on offer, such as offset and redraw facilities, that aren’t available with all low rate loans.

To determine which loan is the best for you, think about whether you would prefer the consistency of a fixed loan or the flexibility and potential benefits of a variable loan. Then determine which features will be necessary throughout the life of your loan. Thirdly, consider how much you are willing to pay in fees for the loan you want. Once you find the perfect combination of these three elements you are on your way to determining the best loan for you. 

What is an ongoing fee?

Ongoing fees are any regular payments charged by your lender in addition to the interest they apply including annual fees, monthly account keeping fees and offset fees. The average annual fee is close to $200 however there are almost 2,000 home loan products that don’t charge an annual fee at all. There’s plenty of extra costs when you’re buying a home, such as conveyancing, stamp duty, moving costs, so the more fees you can avoid on your home loan, the better. While $200 might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, it adds up to $6,000 over the life of a 30 year loan – money which would be much better off either reinvested into your home loan or in your back pocket for the next rainy day.

Example: Anna is tossing up between two different mortgage products. Both have the same variable interest rate, but one has a monthly account keeping fee of $20. By picking the loan with no fees, and investing an extra $20 a month into her loan, Josie will end up shaving 6 months off her 30 year loan and saving over $9,000* in interest repayments.

What happens to my home loan when interest rates rise?

If you are on a variable rate home loan, every so often your rate will be subject to increases and decreases. Rate changes are determined by your lender, not the Reserve Bank of Australia, however often when the RBA changes the cash rate, a number of banks will follow suit, at least to some extent. You can use RateCity cash rate to check how the latest interest rate change affected your mortgage interest rate.

When your rate rises, you will be required to pay your bank more each month in mortgage repayments. Similarly, if your interest rate is cut, then your monthly repayments will decrease. Your lender will notify you of what your new repayments will be, although you can do the calculations yourself, and compare other home loan rates using our mortgage calculator.

There is no way of conclusively predicting when interest rates will go up or down on home loans so if you prefer a more stable approach consider opting for a fixed rate loan.

How can I calculate interest on my home loan?

You can calculate the total interest you will pay over the life of your loan by using a mortgage calculator. The calculator will estimate your repayments based on the amount you want to borrow, the interest rate, the length of your loan, whether you are an owner-occupier or an investor and whether you plan to pay ‘principal and interest’ or ‘interest-only’.

If you are buying a new home, the calculator will also help you work out how much you’ll need to pay in stamp duty and other related costs.

How can I get a home loan with bad credit?

If you want to get a home loan with bad credit, you need to convince a lender that your problems are behind you and that you will, indeed, be able to repay a mortgage.

One step you might want to take is to visit a mortgage broker who specialises in bad credit home loans (also known as ‘non-conforming home loans’ or ‘sub-prime home loans’). An experienced broker will know which lenders to approach, and how to plead your case with each of them.

Two points to bear in mind are:

  • Many home loan lenders don’t provide bad credit mortgages
  • Each lender has its own policies, and therefore favours different things

If you’d prefer to directly approach the lender yourself, you’re more likely to find success with smaller non-bank lenders that specialise in bad credit home loans (as opposed to bigger banks that prefer ‘vanilla’ mortgages). That’s because these smaller lenders are more likely to treat you as a unique individual rather than judge you according to a one-size-fits-all policy.

Lenders try to minimise their risk, so if you want to get a home loan with bad credit, you need to do everything you can to convince lenders that you’re safer than your credit history might suggest. If possible, provide paperwork that shows:

  • You have a secure job
  • You have a steady income
  • You’ve been reducing your debts
  • You’ve been increasing your savings

What are extra repayments?

Additional payments to your home loan above the minimum monthly instalments, which can help to reduce the loan’s term and remaining payable interest.

How do you determine which home loan rates/products I’m shown?

When you check your home loan rate, you’ll supply some basic information about your current loan, including:

  • the amount owing on your mortgage
  • the value of your property
  • your current interest rate
  • name of existing lender
  • property address

We’ll compare this information to the home loan options in the RateCity database, and show you which home loan products you may be eligible to apply for.

What is a variable home loan?

A variable rate home loan is one where the interest rate can and will change over the course of your loan. The rate is determined by your lender, not the Reserve Bank of Australia, so while the cash rate might go down, your bank may decide not to follow suit, although they do broadly follow market conditions. One of the upsides of variable rates is that they are typically more flexible than their fixed rate counterparts which means that a lot of these products will let you make extra repayments and offer features such as offset accounts.

What is an interest-only loan? (include how do I work out interest-only loan repayments)

An ‘interest-only’ loan is a loan where the borrower is only required to pay back the interest on the loan. Typically, banks will only let lenders do this for a fixed period of time – often five years – however some lenders will be happy to extend this.

Interest-only loans are popular with investors who aren’t keen on putting a lot of capital into their investment property. It is also a handy feature for people who need to reduce their mortgage repayments for a short period of time while they are travelling overseas, or taking time off to look after a new family member, for example.

While moving on to interest-only will make your monthly repayments cheaper, ultimately, you will end up paying your bank thousands of dollars extra in interest to make up for the time where you weren’t paying off the principal.

The fine print – what are the eligibility criteria?

This competition is only available to Australian residents who are over 18 and check their home loan interest rate at RateCity. However, you are not required to refinance your home loan or apply for any financial products.

You can still enter if you don’t have a home loan yet – enter how much you plan to borrow and the details of the property you’re considering, and we’ll compare mortgage offers that may suit your needs and estimate how much you could save compared to a loan with an average interest rate. 

What is a fixed home loan?

A fixed rate home loan is a loan where the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, usually between one and 15 years. The advantage of a fixed rate is that you know exactly how much your repayments will be for the duration of the fixed term. There are some disadvantages to fixing that you need to be aware of. Some products won’t let you make extra repayments, or offer tools such as an offset account to help you reduce your interest, while others will charge a significant break fee if you decide to terminate the loan before the fixed period finishes.

What is a bad credit home loan?

A bad credit home loan is a mortgage for people with a low credit score. Lenders regard bad credit borrowers as riskier than ‘vanilla’ borrowers, so they tend to charge higher interest rates for bad credit home loans.

If you want a bad credit home loan, you’re more likely to get approved by a small non-bank lender than by a big four bank or another mainstream lender.

Home Loans Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the best interest rate for a mortgage?

The fastest way to find out what the lowest interest rates on the market are is to use a comparison website.

While a low interest rate is highly preferable, it is not the only factor that will determine whether a particular loan is right for you.

Loans with low interest rates can often include hidden catches, such as high fees or a period of low rates which jumps up after the introductory period has ended.

To work out the best value for money, have a look at a loan’s comparison rate and read the fine print to get across all the fees and charges that you could be theoretically charged over the life of the loan.

Mortgage Calculator, Repayments

The money you pay back to your lender at regular intervals. 

How much information is required to get a rating?

You don’t need to input any information to see the default ratings. But the more you tell us, the more relevant the ratings will become to you. We take your personal privacy seriously. If you are concerned about inputting your information, please read our privacy policy.

Why is it important to get the most up-to-date information?

The mortgage market changes constantly. Every week, new products get launched and existing products get tweaked. Yet many ratings and awards systems rank products annually or biannually.

We update our product data as soon as possible when lenders make changes, so if a bank hikes its interest rates or changes its product, the system will quickly re-evaluate it.

Nobody wants to read a weather forecast that is six months old, and the same is true for home loan comparisons.