Construction loan comparison

A construction loan offers finance when you're building a home. Learn how they work and how to get the best construction loan for your situation.

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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate (p.a.) Fees Monthly Payment

Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan P&IHome≥ 20% Deposit

Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan
2.19%
2.20%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$570
Fund the construction of your new family home with a very competitive variable interest rate.

Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan P&IHome≥ 10% Deposit

Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan
2.59%
2.60%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$601
A competitive variable interest rate loan with low fees. The establishment fee is waived if you borrow $150,000 or more.

loans.com.au Green Home Loan IOHome≥ 10% Deposit

loans.com.au Green Home Loan
2.08%
2.39%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$562
Construction Loan: A competitive variable rate loan available for the construction of an energy-efficient home.

Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan P&IHome≥ 20% Deposit

Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan
2.44%
2.45%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$590
A competitive variable interest rate loan with low fees. The establishment fee is waived if you borrow $150,000 or more.

loans.com.au Green Home Loan IOInvestment≥ 10% Deposit

loans.com.au Green Home Loan
2.59%
2.90%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$601
Construction Loan: Investors building an energy-efficient property can get a discounted rate on this green investment loan with interest-only repayments.
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A construction loan is suitable if you're looking to build a new home or investment property, or substantially renovate to an existing property. It differs for a regular home loan because funds are released in stages as the construction of the property progresses.

What is a construction loan?

A construction loan is a specific type of mortgage designed for people wanting to build a new home. Depending on the way a construction loan is set up, you may be able to purchase a vacant block of land first and then arrange to build on the land within a specified timeframe.

Construction loans aren't set up the same way as a regular mortgage. Instead, the lender considers the total amount you need to borrow in order to pay your builder, and then breaks down the full amount into separate payments called progress draws. These are percentages of the total building contract amount paid out of your mortgage funds to the builder throughout the construction process.

Learn more about the construction process

While progress draws are being made, the majority of lenders will only expect you to pay the interest due on the amounts that have been drawn. For instance:

  • The total house and land package value is $500,000
  • The land purchase price is $125,000
  • Your lender allows you to draw down $125,000 (25% of the total loan)
  • Therefore, you are now making repayments based on 25% of the total loan value
  • When construction of the property is due to commence, you builder requests $100,000
  • Your lender releases another draw down of $100,000 (20% of the total loan)
  • You have now drawn down 45% of the total loan
  • Therefore, you are now making repayments based on 45% of the total loan value

The more you borrow or draw down throughout the process, the higher your repayments become. Your full principal and interest payments won't begin until after the handover has taken place and you have received the keys to your new home, meaning you save on interest during the construction process.

Construction loans: 3 experts give their definitions of these loans

Owner builder mortgages

An owner builder mortgage is designed for those people who wish to build their own home without the help of a licensed builder. As banks and lenders use the property as security for your mortgage, many of them consider owner builder mortgages to be high risk. For this reason, many banks and lenders will not accept applications for these types of home loans.

Additionally, those lenders that do offer owner builder mortgages will usually limit the loan amount to 60% of the total land value and construction cost. The lender will take into account the value of the vacant land as part of the valuation total. However, you should note that the actual completed value of the home is rarely taken into account when factoring in the value of the security property with owner builders. Instead, the lender will look closely at the quotes provided to form the estimated cost of materials and labour required to complete the construction.

How do I get started with a construction loan?

Construction loans are suitable for any borrower intending to build a new home on a vacant block of land. This includes buying a house and land package from a licensed builder, or conducting major renovations to an existing home, such as adding new rooms.

The first step is to work out how much you can afford to borrow for your construction loan, based on your income.

Next, consider your financial position. Due to the perceived higher risks involved for the lender, construction home loans are normally offered to borrowers who have very good credit histories. The eligibility criteria can be much more stringent for construction home loan applicants than it is for borrowers applying for a traditional home loan.

The initial deposit required is usually at least 20% of the total cost of construction, meaning you need this amount in savings. That said, we do have lenders in our database who will accept a lower deposit.

There are a number of other factors to consider when choosing a construction home loan:

  • Do I need to buy a house and land package to get a construction loan?

You don't technically need to buy a house and land package from one builder or developer to get a construction loan. You may have already purchased a vacant block of land earlier using a regular home loan. It's only when you sign a building contract with your licensed builder that you'll need a construction loan. Keep in mind that you will end up with two separate mortgages this way.

  • Do I have to use a licensed builder to construct my home?

The vast majority of banks and lenders will prefer that you choose a licensed builder to construct your home before they extend a construction loan for you. However, there are some lenders that will allow you to build your own home as an owner builder. This is ideal if you're a qualified tradesperson or if you have a building license of your own, but an owner builder loan isn't suited to the faint of heart.

  • What clauses are involved with a construction loan?

In some states of Australia you are able to include a finance clause when you sign your contract for your vacant block of land. This type of clause is quite common when purchasing vacant land or even an established home via private treaty sale (not at auction), where you're able to insert a clause that says "Subject to Finance".

The ability to include a finance clause like this gives you several benefits:

  • It helps to protect you against being forced to take out finance that isn't suited to you.
  • It allows you to get out of your contractual obligation if your finance application doesn't get approved for whatever reason.
  • It removes your block of land from the market while the agent waits to hear about your finance approval.
  • It gives you time to obtain your finance.

You may also be able to include specific dates and other information that is relevant to your clause. For example, you can add that your clause is subject to finance being approved with a specific lender for no more than a specific interest rate and that your finance approval needs to be received by a specific date. Remember, in this instance your finance approval is the full formal approval, or unconditional approval from your bank.

The primary reason for adding specific information like this is to protect you against having to accept finance that isn't right for you or your situation. So, if you've already received a pre-approval from your lender and you already know your interest rate, you can enter this information into your clause.

For example: This contract is subject to obtaining finance with Westpac at an interest rate no higher than 2.99% on or before 12th December.

If your finance clause is written this way, you have some backup in case your bank suddenly decides to decline your mortgage application at the last minute. After all, if you've simply written "Subject to Finance" and nothing else, you might suddenly find that the vendor can insist you accept any finance at ridiculous interest rates just to comply with the contract.

  • What if a building contract changes?

There are some cases where a lender will make a construction loan more expensive. This is due to how the contract price might go up after you get an amendment on your home prepared. This can especially be difficult because the builder will end up having to reassess the value of the loan from the top. However, you can do a few things in order to keep this from being a problem down the road.

  • Get your building contract completed and finalised before sending it to your lender.
  • Pay for any new changes to your construction with your own money. You could also ask your builder to reimburse you in the event that you got any discounts out of something.
  • Consult your lender if the changes are massive. You might need to wait a month for the lender to review the loan again.
  • Be sure to simplify your changes. This is so it will be easier for the bank to make changes and to keep from being delayed in the process.

How to choose a construction loan

Just like a regular home loan, the way you compare a construction loan will have an impact on the value you get out of it. Here's what you should compare:

  • Interest rates. You'll only be paying interest during the construction period, meaning the interest rate you receive will have an important bearing on the size of your repayments. Keep in mind that the advertised rate doesn't take into account the fees you will pay for the loan, so be sure to also look at the comparison rate, as this will have an impact on this.
  • Fees. Some construction loans will have extra fees which they'll charge to cover the costs of having a valuer check your property after each stage of the building is completed. Some home loans can also charge extra administration fees for construction loans, so you may need to factor this into the total cost of your home loan. These fees are in addition to regular upfront fees such as application costs, valuation fees and more.
  • Features. During the construction phase most features of your home loan will be unavailable, such as redraw and the ability to make additional repayments (this of course will depend on the particular loan), but it still pays to know what features you'll be able to use once the construction phase ends. Find out what features you want out of your home loan and then ensure you search for these during your comparison.
  • Construction terms. You'll want to confirm what construction terms your loan will offer, including how long you can build for using the loan and the process for drawing down and accessing funds.

Understanding the 5 steps of a construction loan

Once you've bought your land, decided on your plan and sorted out your finance, it's time to begin construction.

While a traditional home loan releases the full funds for your property purchase at settlement, a construction loan works a bit differently. Funds are paid in stages known as progress draws. These stages correspond to the progress of your home's construction.

1. Foundations and footings

At this stage of construction, the building site is cleared of any vegetation and debris, and is levelled. Footings for your house are installed and spaces are cut out for the site's plumbing.

During this time, the concrete slab for your house will be poured. After this, initial plumbing and waterproofing will be installed.

All in all, you can count on this stage of construction taking about two weeks as the concrete for your foundation is allowed to dry and cure.

At the completion of this stage of construction, your lender will make your first progress payment to your builder. This will generally be around 10% of the total funds for construction.

2. Frame-up and brickwork

At this stage, the framework, trusses, roof and windows will be constructed. If your home has brickwork, this will be partially done. Gutters and insulation will also go in at this stage, as will any conduits for plumbing or electrical work.

This stage is longer than the initial foundation stage and is likely to take up to four weeks.

At the completion of this stage, the second progress payment will be made. This payment will account for around 15–20% of the total construction funds.

3. Lock-up stage

At the end of the lock-up stage, your home will be sealed and protected from the elements. During the lock-up stage of construction, doors and windows will be installed. All exterior walls will also be completed.

The lock-up stage can take up to four weeks.

At the completion of this stage, your lender will make the third progress draw payment to your builder. This is one of the most significant drawdowns, making up 20–35% of the total building funds.

4. Fit-out

At the fit-out stage of construction, all fixtures, fittings and appliances will be added. This means plumbing and electrical work is completed, gutters and downpipes are installed, skirting boards, cornices and architraves are added, kitchen benches and cupboards are put in and shower screens, mirrors, sinks, toilets and faucets are put in place.

By now your house is starting to look like a home. The fit-out stage is where a significant amount of the construction of your home takes place. This stage can take up to six weeks.

At the end of this stage, your lender will make the fourth progress payment to your builder. This will account for 20–30% of the total funds.

5. Practical completion

Once the practical completion stage is over, you'll have a finished house. It's during this time that your builder will work on the finishing touches, including painting, any final electrical or plumbing work, final installations of appliances and any other detailing.

At the end of this stage, which can take up to eight weeks, you'll do a final walkthrough of your property to identify any problems, and the builder will walk you through the property's features.

Your lender will also do a final inspection before disbursing the final progress drawdown. This will be around 10–15% of the total funds. After this stage, your construction home loan will also be converted into a traditional home loan.

Nevertheless, at the end of this final drawdown, you'll be able to move into your new home.

FAQs about construction loans

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    49 Responses

      Default Gravatar
      SueApril 8, 2018

      Hello, we have bought a block with cash with another couple. There is no money owed at all by anyone. There are two couples, four people on the title. We plan to build two townhouses and subdivide the block in half. The property would temporarily be on two titles. My question is- I have approx half the cash needed for the build. We will need to apply for a construction loan to obtain the additional funds to build the home. Is it possible to obtain a construction loan for our townhouse whilst there are four names on the title. Both couples are building at the same time using the same builder. Plans have been drawn up together and been passed at council together.
      Thank you- I desperately need some suggestion about the best way to do this.
      Sue

        Default Gravatar
        BalaMay 17, 2018

        It is possible to get separate loans for the construction for both couples and you both will be responsible for your own portion of the loan repayments, provided we use the same lender and the same builder to build both properties, cross collateral will be required. Both couples will need to be guarantors on loans ie Couple A will need to be Guarantors on couple B loan and vice versa. Thanking you. Bala

        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        MayMay 18, 2018Staff

        Hi Bala,

        Thanks for your inquiry.

        The approval of your (and husband’s) separate construction loan will depend entirely on the lender based on their assessment of both of your overall financial situations, including but not limited to both your income, liabilities, assets, credit history, etc. In the case of guarantor loans, the lender will also assess if your guarantor also meets the criteria. Not sure though if you two can be a guarantor for each other’s loan. You can find a full guide on how a guarantor loan works.

        I suggest that you speak to a mortgage broker who can take your circumstances into account as they can find a suitable construction loan for you and your husband.

        Cheers,
        May

        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        MayApril 9, 2018Staff

        Hi Sue,

        Thank you for your question.

        It would be best to speak to all the persons whose names are on the title so they would know that you’ll be using the title to secure a loan. I would suggest that you speak to the lender directly as well about this so they can arrange the mortgage according to your situation. In any case, best to get a legal advice on this too to avoid future problems.

        Meantime, there are construction home loan brands listed above which you can contact with and discuss your options for a loan and your situation.

        Cheers,
        May

      Default Gravatar
      DionOctober 3, 2017

      Hi Finder!

      I am interested in buying land from an Estate, and once titles are received, build a house on top. What respective loans would I need to apply for to make this happen?

      Thanks,
      Dion

        Default Gravatar
        DanielleOctober 4, 2017

        Hi Dion,

        Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

        You are on the right page. You may review and compare the offers available on the table. Once you have selected one, you may proceed by clicking the green “Enquire Now” button. And if you scroll down you’ll find more information regarding these types of loans so it should serve as a reference guide.

        I hope this helps.

        Cheers,
        Danielle

      Default Gravatar
      KenJuly 7, 2017

      Hi Guys, I have purchased a property which I paid 20% deposit with a mortgage of $600K. I am currently drawing plans to build a new house on this block, I have $120K savings and need a further $450K to complete build, so total will be $1.05M. Will a bank lend us the 450K on existing mortgage to start building? Will they combine it once the build is complete? We will have no issue serving the size of the debt.
      Cheers Ken

        Default Gravatar
        JonathanJuly 11, 2017

        Hi Ken!

        Thanks for the comment. :)

        As long as your credit resources are able to meet the qualifications of the lenders, why not? As for combining the loans, usually it is not. You would have two separate mortgages if that happens, one regular home loan and another one for construction loan.

        If this interests you, please learn more about mortgage brokers and how they can help you.

        Hope this helps.

        Cheers,
        Jonathan

      Default Gravatar
      DavidMay 18, 2017

      I want to build a house to create equity and sell it. I have only $60k in savings, but would need double that to meet the 80% LVR of what I have in mind. Are there any lenders for residential investors like me who will lend against the completed value of the property? This would solve my problem of having less than 20% as a deposit.

        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        DeeMay 28, 2017Staff

        Hi David,

        Thanks for your question.

        Kindly note that lenders that do offer owner builder mortgages will usually limit the loan amount to 60% of the total land value and construction cost. The lender will take into account the value of the vacant land as part of the valuation total. However, the actual completed value of the home is rarely taken into account when factoring in the value of the security property with owner builders.

        You may have to directly get in touch with the lenders listed on the page to confirm if they consider the completed value of the property in connection to your loan application.

        Cheers,
        Anndy

      Default Gravatar
      LynNovember 4, 2016

      I own a block of land outright and wish to build a house on it. The house cost will be somewhere around 160K of which I have 80K. Therefore the construction loan I require would be for 80K approx. The problem I have is that I am an aged pensioner. (67 yo). Is it still possible to get a loan?
      Thanks

        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        HaroldNovember 4, 2016Staff

        Hello Lyn,

        Thank you for your question.

        There are possible options you may explore if you want to find home loans For pensioners. For eligibility requirements, some home loans will require you to meet certain eligibilities in order to take out that home loan. This may include a regular source of income, good credit history, and more. Pensioners in particular should compare the eligibility requirements of home loans because some may be more appropriate to apply for than others. Also, you may check pensioner loans if you wish to check other possible options.

        I hope that helps.

        Cheers,
        Harold

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