How to get a home loan for a studio apartment approved | Finder

How to get a home loan for a studio apartment approved

If you’re looking for finance to buy an apartment, finding the right home loan is crucial.

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Australians buying smaller studio or one bedroom apartments often have difficulty getting a home loan. This is because lenders view small properties as harder to sell. And if you can't repay your loan then your lender may have to sell your property to recover its losses. Your property is a riskier prospect.

The good news is that there is plenty you can do to improve your shot at getting the right apartment loan. You may need to save a bigger deposit, shop around and find a lender with more flexible lending criteria or get expert advice from a mortgage broker, but it can be done.

What conditions and restrictions apply to apartment loans?

The exact regulations and restrictions for apartment loans are affected by each lender’s willingness to accept risk. Here are some common conditions for apartment loans.

  • Size limits. Most lenders impose restrictions on the minimum size of an apartment. As a general rule, the apartment will need to be at least 45 or 50 square metres (excluding the balcony and any car spaces) in order to qualify for a loan. If your apartment is smaller than this, finding the funds you need may be quite difficult.
  • Deposit requirements. Lenders will always consider the property value in relation to the loan amount, also known as the loan-to-value ratio (LVR). For small apartments of less than 40 square metres, you most likely won’t be able to borrow more than 80% of the property’s value, which means you’ll need to have a deposit of at least 20% of the purchase price ready to go. The maximum LVR you will usually be able to borrow is 90%.
  • Bedroom requirements. Many lenders will require the apartment to have a bedroom that is separate to the living area, which means they will not provide financing for studio apartments. Others may refuse to finance apartments in buildings with communal laundries.
  • Limits to exposure. Some large lenders will also look to limit their exposure to individual developments. For example, once a lender has funded a certain percentage of purchases in a new apartment complex, it may refuse to offer loans for any more apartments in the same complex.
  • Low doc. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to find a lender willing to offer a low doc loan on a small or studio apartment. This is because the combination of a less marketable apartment with the increased danger of lending to a low doc borrower represents an unsatisfactory level of risk for many lenders.
  • Property use. Some lenders will only finance loans for apartments designed for residential use. Properties that are managed as part of a hotel or resort, for example, may not qualify for a loan.

Tips on how to get approved for an apartment loan

While it might not be as easy to get a loan for a small apartment as it is for a larger apartment or a house, there are still plenty of things you can do to improve your chances of being approved for a loan.

  • Save. It doesn’t matter what type of property you’re buying, the larger the deposit you’ve saved, the greater your chances of approval. Having a minimum 20% deposit saved can significantly increase your borrowing power, so build a strong savings balance before you approach any lenders.
  • Do your research. In order to find the right property and minimise the level of risk you present to potential lenders, it’s important to do your research. Lenders will consider a property’s location and features to determine how easy it will be to sell in future, as well as market trends and the sales performance of similar properties in the area. If you’re purchasing a property that ticks all the right boxes for resale potential, your loan application is likely to be viewed more favourably by lenders.
  • Seek help. If you’re a first home buyer and the deposit and LVR restrictions imposed by lenders are limiting your ability to qualify for an apartment loan, consider asking your parents to go guarantor. If you take out a guarantor home loan, which involves listing your parents’ property as security on the loan, you may be able to borrow up to 100% of the purchase price. These types of loans do come with their own risks, so research all your options before deciding on the best solution.
  • Check credit file. Could there be blemishes on your credit history damaging your reputation in the eyes of lenders? Check your credit file to see if there are any negative listings and what you can do to remove them.

Why are there restrictions on apartment loans?

Home loans for apartments 2Lenders are always looking to minimise risk. Some are more conservative than others, but every lender will look to avoid risk as much as possible. If something goes wrong and you default on your apartment loan, the lender would look to sell the apartment to recoup the losses.

With this in mind, lenders prefer to fund the purchase of properties that can be sold quickly if you’re unable to keep up with your repayments. As a general rule, smaller apartments are considered to be harder to sell than larger ones, with banks believing that there will be fewer potential buyers interested in the property.

If you’re looking at studio apartments, which don’t have a wall between the bedroom and the living area, keep in mind that they are particularly difficult to sell, so you may struggle to find a lender willing to offer the finance you need.

The conservative approach of the banks is also influenced by mortgage insurers, who offer lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) to protect the bank if you default on your loan. These insurers generally won’t cover properties under 40 square metres, so the banks have little choice but to follow suit.

Pros and cons of buying an apartment

Pros

  • Cheaper. Apartments are cheaper to purchase than larger units and houses.
  • Close to the city. Studio apartments in particular are found in sought-after inner-city locations close to work, transport and heaps of entertainment options.
  • High rental yield. If you’re a property investor, studio apartments can often generate substantial rental income.

Cons

  • Lending restrictions. Lenders place limits on the amount you can borrow and the size of the apartment.
  • Limited capital growth. While studio apartments often provide high rental yield, they don’t always provide good opportunities for capital growth.

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years
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan
2.29%
2.72%
$0
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
95%
$577.55
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
A flexible and competitive variable rate loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get $2,000 cashback per property plus a bonus $1,000 for their first application. Other conditions apply.
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package
1.84%
3.38%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$543.64
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
Borrowers with 20% deposits or equity can get this competitive fixed rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
1.75%
2.22%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$537
This very low fixed rate is only available until 29 April 2021. Other conditions apply. A competitive fixed rate loan with no ongoing fees. Requires a 20% deposit.
HSBC Fixed Rate Home Loan Package
1.88%
2.86%
$0
$390 p.a.
80%
$546.6
$3,288 refinance cashback offer
Lock in a low fixed rate for 2 years and buy your home with a 20% deposit. Eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $3,288 cashback. Terms and conditions apply.
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed
1.89%
2.85%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$547.35
Lock in a low fixed rate loan for two years and get the annual package fee waived in the first year. Available for borrowers with 20% deposits.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.19%
2.19%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$569.91
Owner occupiers with 40% deposits or equity can get this competitive variable rate loan. No upfront or ongoing fees.
AMP Bank Professional Package Fixed Loan
1.99%
3.1%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
Get a low fixed rate package with no application or settlement fee. Available with a 20% deposit. Other fees and charges apply.
loans.com.au Smart Booster Discount Variable Home Loan
1.99%
2.47%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
Home buyers can get a very low discounted variable rate for the first year. This loan has a revert rate of 2.48%. Requires a 20% deposit. Add an offset account for an additional 0.10% on your interest rate.
Westpac Fixed Option Home Loan Premier Advantage Package
1.89%
3.46%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$547.35
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get up to $3,000 cashback. Other conditions apply.
Macquarie Bank Basic Fixed Home Loan
2.09%
2.43%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
$562.33
Get a low interest rate and a mortgage with flexible, basic features. No application or ongoing fees. Requires a 30% deposit. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
St.George Basic Home Loan
2.49%
2.51%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$593.01
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
Get this low-rate variable loan with a 20% deposit and pay $0 application fee. Borrow from $150k (or $250k to be eligible for the cashback offer) (terms, conditions & exclusions apply).
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan
1.89%
2.18%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
$547.35
Owner occupiers can get a sharp fixed rate for the first year, plus an offset account. Available with a 10% deposit.
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
2.34%
2.34%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$581.39
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
HSBC Home Value Loan
2.44%
2.45%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$589.12
$3,288 refinance cashback offer
Get a low interest variable rate loan with no ongoing fees. Plus you can make extra repayments and free redraw online. If you're refinancing $250,000 or above you can get a $3,288 cashback. Terms and conditions apply.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
1.99%
2.33%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
Fix your mortgage for 1 year with a very competitive rate and no ongoing fees.
Greater Bank Great Rate Fixed Home Loan
1.69%
3.49%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
$532.6
Requires a family member to act as guarantor.
Get one of the lowest rates on the market with this fixed rate mortgage and borrow more with help from a family guarantor. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan
2.49%
2.49%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$593.01
A competitive variable rate home loan for owner-occupiers. Requires a 40% deposit. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan
2.44%
2.45%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$589.12
A competitive variable interest rate loan with low fees. The establishment fee is waived if you borrow $150,000 or more.
IMB Fixed Rate Home Loan
1.97%
2.81%
$449
$6 monthly ($72 p.a.)
95%
$553.31
NSW and ACT customers only. 3 years fixed interest terms and free access to redraw facility online. Available with a 10% deposit.
Well Home Loans Balanced Variable
2.17%
2.2%
$250
$0 p.a.
80%
$568.39
A very low interest rate for home buyers with 20% deposits saved. Add an offset account for a small fee.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.14%
2.16%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$566.11
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fees. This loan is not available for construction.
Virgin Money Reward Me Fixed Rate Home Loan
1.94%
2.77%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
$551.07
$3,000 refinance cashback.
Buy your home and lock in a low rate for the first two years. Get a $3,000 cashback when you switch to Virgin Money with a loan amount of $300,000 or more with an LVR up to 80%. You must apply by 28 May 2021 and settle by 27 August 2021.
Bank of Melbourne Basic Home Loan
2.49%
2.51%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$593.01
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
A competitive variable rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan
1.95%
2.17%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
$551.82
A low fixed mortgage with an optional 100% offset account. Not available for construction purposes.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.24%
2.26%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$573.72
This loan offers a competitive variable rate and a 100% offset account to help save you on interest repayments. This loan is not available for construction.
BankSA Basic Home Loan
2.49%
2.51%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$593.01
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
A competitive variable rate loan from BankSA. Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
CUA Achieve Variable Home Loan
2.35%
2.4%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
$582.16
Home buyers can get a competitive, low-fee variable rate plus a 100% offset account. Low deposit option available. Eligible new home buyers with low deposits can apply for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme with this lender and avoid LMI costs. Eligible refinancers can get a $2,000 pre-paid credit card when they switch to CUA.
BankSA Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
1.89%
3.43%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$547.35
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback.
Fix to a low rate for two years and forget about rate rises. Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Bank of Melbourne Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
1.84%
3.38%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$543.64
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
Get a competitive home loan rate for two years. Requires at least a 20% deposit. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
loans.com.au Fixed
1.99%
2.7%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
Home buyers can lock in this low fixed rate for two years. This loan also allows extra repayments. Requires a 20% deposit.
Heritage Bank Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.19%
4.23%
$600
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
95%
$569.91
Get a partial offset account and the option to make interest-only repayments.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.24%
2.21%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
$573.72
A low variable rate for owner occupiers with 30% deposits. No upfront or ongoing fees.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society  Premium Plus Package Fixed Rate
2.28%
3.84%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$576.78
$2,000 refinance cashback
Enjoy a competitive rate with no application fee for this package loan. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
Greater Bank Great Rate Discount Variable with Family Pledge Home Loan
2.59%
2.6%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
$600.83
Pay no deposit or LMI and get a discounted rate with this family pledge loan. Requires a family member to act as guarantor. NSW, QLD and ACT only.
IMB Budget Home Loan
2.58%
2.64%
$449
$0 p.a.
80%
$600.05
A competitive variable rate for borrowers with 20% deposits saved. Available for NSW and ACT borrowers only.
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan
2.29%
2.29%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
$577.55
A competitive 3 year investor rate with principal and interest repayments. Optional offset account with a $10 monthly fee. Not available for construction purposes.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.69%
2.52%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$608.71
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fee. This loan is not available for construction.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.14%
2.35%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$566.11
A one year fixed rate offer with no ongoing bank fees.
Heritage Bank Discount Variable Home Loan
2.59%
2.64%
$600
$0 p.a.
80%
$600.83
Family guarantee option available. Enjoy flexible repayments and a low minimum loan amount.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.14%
2.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$566.11
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
Heritage Bank Advantage Package Fixed
2.39%
3.15%
$0
$350 p.a.
95%
$585.25
Get a partial offset account and flexible repayments with this package loan.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.59%
2.42%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$600.83
Macquarie Bank Offset Home Loan Package
2.49%
2.76%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$593.01
A sharp variable rate with low fees for borrowers with 40% deposits or refinancers with equity in their properties. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
loans.com.au Smart Booster Discount Variable Home Loan
1.99%
2.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
If you have an owner occupier loan with loans.com.au you can also get this very low rate variable mortgage for your investment property. Principal and interest repayments. Add an offset account for an additional 0.10% on your interest rate.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.74%
2.76%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$612.67
Access a fee-free offset account and a special interest rate for investors. This loan is not available for construction.
St.George Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$596.91
$2,000 cashback.
With this competitive variable rate loan from St.George, refinancers borrowing $250,000+ can get a $2,000 cashback (terms, conditions & exclusions apply)
Macquarie Bank Basic Fixed Home Loan
2.19%
2.53%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$569.91
Borrow up to $750,000 with this basic 3 years fixed rate home loan. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
Bank of Melbourne Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$596.91
$2,000 cashback
A competitive variable rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $2,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.39%
2.41%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$585.25
This investment loan keeps fees low, has a sharp interest rate and comes with a 100% offset account. This loan is not available for construction.
IMB Budget Home Loan
2.68%
2.74%
$449
$0 p.a.
95%
$607.92
NSW and ACT customers only. You can get an interest rate discount for a limited time with this competitive variable mortgage.
Tic:Toc Live-in Loan Fixed Rate Home Loan
1.89%
2.15%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$547.35
Get a very low interest rate and pay no application, settlement or valuation fees. Apply online for full approval in real time and add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Real Deal Home Loan
2.59%
2.63%
$595
$0 p.a.
80%
$600.83
$2,000 refinance cashback
$2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
2.74%
2.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$612.67
Get a discounted, low-fee investor loan from a convenient online lender. 20% deposit required.
Virgin Money Reward Me Variable Home Loan
2.59%
2.76%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
60%
$600.83
$3,000 refinance cashback.
A variable rate loan for owner occupiers with a 40% deposit (or equity) borrowing under $500,000. Get a $3,000 cashback when you switch to Virgin Money with a loan amount of $300,000 or more with an LVR up to 80%. You must apply by 28 May 2021 and settle by 27 August 2021.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.29%
2.31%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$577.55
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fee. This loan is not available for construction.
IMB Fixed Rate Home Loan
1.89%
2.87%
$449
$6 monthly ($72 p.a.)
95%
$547.35
NSW and ACT customers only. Lock in a low fixed rate for two years. Available with a 5% deposit.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society  Premium Plus Package Fixed Rate
2.19%
3.72%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$569.91
$2,000 refinance cashback
Enjoy a discounted fixed rate and the ability to package the loan with other financial products. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.59%
2.61%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$600.83
Save on interest with a free 100% offset account and buy your property with just a 10% deposit. This loan is not available for construction.
IMB Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.49%
3.36%
$449
$6 monthly ($72 p.a.)
90%
$593.01
NSW and ACT customers only. A 3 years fixed rate investor which allows extra repayments to be made.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.29%
2.72%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$577.55
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
Bankwest Complete Home Loan Package Variable
2.55%
3.01%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$597.7
$2,000 refinance cashback.
Eligible customers who apply to move their home loan to Bankwest by 30 June 2021 can get a $2,000 cashback. To qualify you must refinance a minimum loan amount of $250,000 or more with an LVR of 80% or lower. The loan must be funded by 31 August 2021 (other terms, conditions and exlcusions apply).
HSBC Home Value Loan
2.54%
2.55%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$596.91
A competitive value home loan with no ongoing fee.
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan
2.04%
2.17%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
$558.56
A low 3 year fixed rate for home buyers. Add a 100% offset account with a $10 monthly fee. Not available for construction purposes.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.29%
3.94%
$595
$0 p.a.
95%
$577.55
$2,000 refinance cashback
Borrow up to 95% LVR of the value of the property you're buying and pay no ongoing fees. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan
2.64%
2.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$604.76
Pay no application and ongoing fees and take advantage of split and redraw options. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
Well Home Loans Balanced Variable
2.52%
2.55%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
$595.35
A very low variable interest rate for borrowers with a 10% deposit. Add a 100% offset account for $10 a month. Not available for construction purposes.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan
2.94%
3.34%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$628.65
$2,000 refinance cashback
New borrowers or refinancers can get a discounted rate with this package loan. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
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