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Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme (DHOAS) home loans

Members of the Australian Defence Force can get special DHOAS home loans and qualify for some subsidies too.

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Current and former serving members of the Australian Defence Force can apply for unique Defence Force Home Loans and receive monthly subsidies as part of the Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme.

Eligible borrowers can get a home loan and subsidies through 1 of 3 lenders participating in the scheme: Defence Bank, Australian Military Bank and NAB.

DHOAS subsidies and eligibility

The Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme has 3 subsidy tiers based on the length of your service. The minimum length of service is 4 years permanent service or 8 years in the reserves.

You must have served within the last 5 years to apply for the DHOAS.

There are also subsidy limits based on your loan amount. This information is contained in the table below, but check the DHOAS website for the most up-to-date figures.

DHOAS subsidy tiers and service length 2021-22

Please note that the actual monthly subsidy amounts depend on the median interest rate, which changes over time.

Tier LevelMinimum permanent serviceMinimum reserve serviceMaximum subsidised loan AmountMaximum monthly subsidy on interest payments
14 years8 years$310,937Up to $181
28 years12 years$466,406Up to $272
312 years16 years$621,874Up to $362

You'll also need to show the lender a valid DHOAS subsidy certificate.

What if I have taken a break from service?

If you take a break from the ADF for a year or more before the qualifying period is up, then you will need to restart the procedure from the moment you return, regardless of whether you are a permanent member or a reservist.

DHOAS lenders offering defence loans

Only 3 Australian lenders offer loans as part of the Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme.

  • NAB. One of Australia's largest banks, NAB has branches and ATM networks that cover most of the country.
  • Defence Bank. This is a customer-owned bank that started life as a credit union for ADF members, but it now offers services to all Australians. Defence Bank offers a range of home loans, including DHOAS loans.
  • Australian Military Bank. This bank started in 1959 and offers various financial services to ADF personnel. This includes 3 DHOAS home loan products.

How to apply for the DHOAS

There are several steps to apply for a DHOAS loan and a subsidy.

  1. Apply for a DHOAS subsidy certificate via the DHOAS website. You'll need this to prove to your lender that you can qualify for a defence loan. You'll need to attach a copy of your relevant ADO Service Record (long version).
  2. Once you have the subsidy certificate, you can apply for a loan through 1 of the 3 providers mentioned above.

Home loan approval

Aside from the service criteria, you will also need to meet the lender's eligibility requirements for the loan. This is the same with any other home loan.

  • Deposit. You'll need to have saved at least a 5% deposit. Some lenders may require a deposit as high as 20% of your property's value.
  • Loan amount. The amount you wish to borrow affects your eligibility for the loan. Lenders won't lend you an amount they feel is so high that you can't comfortably afford to repay it.
  • Income and expenses. The lender will examine your income, spending, debts and assets to get a full picture of your finances. This is to make sure you can repay the loan.

Other grants and schemes for ADF personnel

You can combine a DHOAS loan with other home buyer schemes and policies.

Home Purchase Assistance Scheme (HPAS)

The HPAS offers a one-off payment of $16,949 to help with the cost of buying a home if you've been posted to a new location and are living there for at least 12 months.

First home owner grants and concessions

There are state and territory plus federal government schemes and policies that are available to you if you are a first home buyer. You may be able to qualify for multiple grants or other schemes in addition to the DHOAS.

Some examples include the following:

  • First home owner grants. This is a grant of money that can be used towards your purchase and is often reserved for first home buyers purchasing newly built properties.
  • Stamp duty concessions. Many governments waive or discount stamp duty for first home buyers, removing one of the bigger property costs.
  • The Family Home Guarantee. Under the Family Home Guarantee, eligible single parents can buy homes with 2% deposits and avoid lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) costs while borrowing the remaining 98%.
  • The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme. This scheme allows first home buyers to enter the market with a 5% deposit. They can also avoid LMI costs.

How do banks view my allowances?

Most service men and women get some nice benefits and allowances to help pay the costs they may incur if they are posted overseas. However, some banks aren’t willing to take these allowances into account, whether because they don’t understand them or simply because they feel it’s too risky. The problem is that this can significantly limit you in terms of how much money you can borrow.

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42 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    LeeOctober 14, 2017

    Hi my husband and I purchased a home and lived in it for 12 months , this was also while he took a break for less than 1 year.
    We want to get a second property
    Would we be eligible to the subsidy? Or for our first home?

    • Default Gravatar
      ArnoldOctober 15, 2017

      Hi Lee,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      There are certain eligibility criteria you need to fulfill to be able to apply and qualify for a Defence Force home loan. You need to fulfill the following to be eligible:

      1. You must have served in the ADF within the last two years;
      2. You must complete a minimum qualifying period or, in certain situations, foreign service;
      3. Accrue DHOAS entitlement, also referred to as Service Credit, which is done by completing effective service;
      4. You must meet the other conditions the scheme imposes.

      Hope this information helps

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  2. Default Gravatar
    RobJuly 9, 2017

    I purchased a home with another lender with line of credit (LOC) loan of around $270k before DOHAS commenced and have qualified for Tier3 after 30years ARA. If I decide to refinance with one of the DOHAS lenders, will the LOC loan balance be adsorbed into DOHAS loan?

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 27, 2017

      Hello Rob,

      Thank you for your inquiry today.

      You can refinance your existing mortgage with a DHOAS home loan. Take note that this will be based on the original amount, and you cannot request a larger loan just to maximize the subsidy.

      You can also contact the accredited DHOAS home loan providers.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  3. Default Gravatar
    BrianMay 8, 2017

    Does the ADF offer a one off first home buyers grant like the NSW state government, and if so how much is it and how do you apply for it?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMay 11, 2017Staff

      Hi Brian,

      Thanks for your question.

      Kindly note that the FHOG is given to first home owners in Australia who fulfil the eligibility criteria as outlined by the governing state where the property is located. This means that if you are buying a home for the first time, regardless of which mortgage you choose, including The Australian Defence Force Home Loan, you may be eligible to apply for FHOG.

      The amount that you can get under FHOG depends on where the property is located and how much its value. You can check our guide on First Home Owners Grant for more information.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  4. Default Gravatar
    DarylJanuary 27, 2016

    Hi i am daryl,
    If i have already bought a house then served the army, provided i have served the minimum time requirement am i entitled to reimbursement?

    • Default Gravatar
      BelindaFebruary 2, 2016

      Hi Daryl,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      DHOAS is a subsidy payable upon you meeting the eligibility and entitlement conditions.

      Therefore you will need to meet the qualifying period using your service with the Army and accrue service credit to entitle you to a monthly subsidy. The subsidy is not reimbursed based on the home purchase that occurred prior to you enlisting with the Australian Defence Forces. Essentially once you qualify for a DHOAS certificate you can commence payments on an eligible DHOAS loan, and payments will only occur once you have been issued a certificate.

      If you have further enquiries, please get in touch with DHOAS directly.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

  5. Default Gravatar
    RickyJanuary 18, 2016

    Hi i am rick, i have been in the army from last 6 years, planning to buy a house this year, Which bank you prefer will be suitable to take loan?

    • Default Gravatar
      BelindaJanuary 19, 2016

      Hi Rick,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      As a member of the Australian Defence Force, you may be eligible to apply for the Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme (DHOAS) and the Home Purchase Assistance Scheme (HPAS). The Australian banks that offer these types of loans include the Australian Military Bank, Defence Bank Limited, National Australia Bank, and Westpac.

      I recommend getting in touch with a licensed mortgage broker. A broker can help you understand your financial position and they can leverage their panel of networks to find a lender that’s more inclined to review your application.

      Before applying for a home loan, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you.

      For further information, you can visit the DHOAS website and enquire with them directly.

      Kind regards,
      Belinda

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