Government home loans and assistance

If you’re having trouble securing a home loan through traditional means, there are some government programs that might help you achieve your property goals.

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As house prices rise, many Australians may be able to service a home loan but find themselves shut out of the housing market. Depending on where you live, there could be government home loans or policies to help you. This includes options for low deposit borrowers for low income residents in certain states, and of course there's the federal First Home Loan Deposit Scheme and the Family Home Guarantee.

Keystart Home Loans logoKeystart

If you live in Western Australia and can’t save the deposit required by many traditional lenders, the WA government’s Keystart program might be able to help.

What is it?

Keystart was established in 1989 to help West Australians who are unable to meet the deposit requirements of mainstream lenders. The scheme provides low deposit home loans to WA residents who fall below an income cap. The loans are available with a 2% deposit in metro areas and a 10% deposit in regional areas. First home buyers can also use the state’s first home owner grant scheme to help fund their deposit.

In spite of carrying a high loan-to-value ratio (LVR), Keystart loans differ from the low deposit home loans traditional lenders may provide because they do not require lenders mortgage insurance (LMI). The loans carry no ongoing fees, and have an interest rate that’s calculated based on the average of the four major banks’ standard variable rate.

The program also has home loans tailored to the needs of specific groups of Australians. In addition to the standard Keystart Home Loan, Keystart also offers an Aboriginal Home Loan, a Disability Home Loan, a Sole Parent Home Loan and home loans for Housing Authority properties and shared ownership arrangements.

Shared equity home loans

Keystart offers a unique finance option called a shared equity home loan. This loan helps finance properties offered by the Housing Authority. The program enables loan recipients to finance part of the price of the property through a Keystart Home Loan, with the Housing Authority contributing a percentage and sharing ownership.

Who’s eligible?

Keystart home loans are available to West Australian permanent residents who meet the following criteria:

  • Earn a maximum of $90,000 per annum as a single applicant
  • Earn a maximum of $110,000 per annum as a couple
  • Earn a maximum of $130,000 per annum as a family
  • Have existing monthly debt repayments that do not exceed 10% of gross income
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Intend to live in the purchased property as a principal place of residence for the life of the loan

How do I find out more?

Keystart’s website offers a full rundown of products, as well as questionnaires to determine eligibility.

Homestart logoHomeStart Finance

South Australians can increase their borrowing power and reduce the amount they need to save for a deposit by utilising the SA Government’s HomeStart program.

What is it?

HomeStart was launched in 1989 as a government organisation to help South Australians achieve home ownership sooner. The program enables borrowers to avoid paying LMI, and instead pay a much less expensive loan provision charge. It also offers loans at 97% LVR for certain groups of customers.

HomeStart also has a Repayment Safeguard in place to help borrowers manage repayments. The system sets an initial repayment rate based on what borrowers can afford rather than the loan’s interest rate. HomeStart repayments generally only change once a year, when they are adjusted for inflation.

The program offers a range of home loans for purchasing existing homes, vacant land, building a home or refinancing. Low deposit loans are available for graduates with a Certificate III or IV, diploma, bachelor degree or higher qualification. HomeStart loans can also be combined with other loans to enable home buyers to borrow up to 30% more without increasing their repayments.

Who’s eligible?

To qualify for a HomeStart loan, you must:

  • Be purchasing a home in South Australia for residential use only
  • Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or skilled migrant
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have held $3,000 in savings for at least three months, or have 12 months of good rental history

Other eligibility criteria may apply for specific loans.

How do I find out more?

A full rundown of the loans available through HomeStart and the eligibility requirements for each product can be found on the Homestart Finance website.

Queensland Housing Finance Loan

Queensland Government logoIf you live in Queensland and can afford home ownership, but are struggling to get a loan through a traditional lender, the Queensland Housing Finance Loan may be the answer.

What is it?

The Queensland Housing Finance Loan is a low deposit home loan to help eligible Queenslanders build or buy a home. The loan has variable or fixed rate options, and requires only a 2% deposit with no LMI. It also carries no monthly account keeping fees.

The loan is structured to help borrowers meet their repayments. Rather than calculating repayments solely on loan size, term and interest rates, the Queensland Housing Finance Loan also takes into account borrowers’ income. Initial monthly repayments start at 30% of the borrower’s income, and will not exceed 35% of their income.

Who’s eligible?

To qualify for the Queensland Housing Finance Loan, you must:

  • Live in Queensland
  • Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Not own another property
  • Use the purchased property solely for residential purposes
  • Have a good credit history and no significant debts
  • Have a regular savings history
  • Have enough savings for a deposit, stamp duty, insurance and legal fees
  • Be able to afford the home loan repayments without causing hardship
  • Have earning potential for the life of the loan

How do I find out more?

The Queensland Government’s website includes information on the Queensland Housing Finance Loan, including eligibility requirements and how to apply.

HomesVic Shared Equity Initiative

The Victorian government allows up to 400 first home buyers on low to average incomes to get home loans if they have saved a 5% deposit.

As a shared equity scheme, the Victorian government will provide part of the deposit (up to 25% of the property's value). The borrower needs a 5% deposit and will repay the remainder of the mortgage. When the property is sold HomesVic will receive a portion of the sale in proportion to the amount of deposit they initially provided.

You can learn more about the scheme here or read up on the concept of shared equity agreements.

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8 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    AlisonSeptember 4, 2019

    If someone that already resides in a commission home, paying rent. Can the residence buy the property from the department of housing, and apply for the groverment scheme loaned? To buy the property from the department of housing ?

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiSeptember 5, 2019

      Hi Alison,

      Thanks for getting in touch! While we provide a page for government home loans and assistance, your inquiry is very broad and you might need to contact the Dept. of Housing in your state as every state has different rules.

      Sorry, I can’t be of help at this time. Feel free to reach back out for further assistance.


    Default Gravatar
    lynMarch 20, 2019

    Is there a government home loan scheme for single mothers in Victoria

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiMarch 21, 2019

      Hi Lyn,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      We have a page that shows home loans for single parents however these are for Centrelink recipients and you can view it from our home loan options for single parents page.

      I suggest contacting Homestart Finance to check if they give loan options for single mothers. The three states above are the only places where government loan options are currently available. If you live elsewhere, such as in New South Wales or Victoria, you may want to check with your state government for any other options that may be introduced over time.

      Hope this helps!


    Default Gravatar
    RoshMay 8, 2017


    Are there loans for people in NSW buying in NSW?

    Could you please advise.


      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMay 11, 2017Staff

      Hi Rosh,

      Thanks for your question.

      Currently, there are only three states (Queensland, WA and SA) where government loan options are available. If you live elsewhere, such as in New South Wales, you may want to check with your state government for any other options that may be introduced over time.


    Default Gravatar
    MarieFebruary 22, 2017

    I would like to please find out if I am eligible to apply for the Government’s interest free home loan scheme

    I would appreciate your advise and information re above scheme


      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayFebruary 23, 2017Staff

      Hi Marie,

      Thank you for your question and for contacting we are a financial comparison website and general information service we are not mortgage specialists so can only offer general advice.

      Basically, your eligibility for the government loan programs will depend on the state you live in. So it would be best to check your state government whether there will be available loan options for you and if you’re eligible.


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