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Indigenous home loans

Aboriginal people may qualify for a home loan through Indigenous Business Australia (IBA). Aboriginal borrowers living in NSW or WA also have other options through state programs.

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) has specific home loan products to support Indigenous home ownership. Eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can qualify for one of several loan products through the IBA's Indigenous Home Ownership Program. You can also apply for home loans from other lenders too.

Indigenous people living in NSW can also get support in the form of a grant through the Aboriginal Housing Office. In Western Australia, the lender Keystart also offers an Aboriginal Home Loan.

Indigenous Business Australia home loans

IBA provides financial assistance to Indigenous people, ensuring they have access to the property market. It offers home loans with low deposits and low fees, including for the purchase of an established property, for purchase and renovation, for residential land and for the construction of a home.

There is usually additional assistance for anyone living in remote areas or relocating from a remote area.

These home loans and incentives are unique, and have a few features that make them stand out from other home loans:

  • Low deposit requirement. These types of home loans have much lower deposit requirements compared to standard home loans. For purchasing a home, the amount of deposit you need is assessed on your gross income.
  • Low interest rate. The interest rate for these types of loans is a concessional interest rate. Your interest rate is worked out on a sliding scale based on your income. This interest rate gradually increases to reach the market variable rate, giving you time to adjust spending and get used to making the mortgage repayments.
  • Additional finance assistance. There’s also additional finance assistance available for other fees associated with homebuying, such as conveyancing costs, property valuations and building and pest inspections, as well as for home improvements.

What are the eligibility requirements for IBA housing loans?

  • You must be over 18 years of age.
  • You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  • At least 1 applicant must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
  • You must be able to meet minimum deposit requirements; you may be able to get assistance from the first home buyers grant scheme of your state or territory.
  • You must have the capacity to meet housing loan repayments.
  • You must intend to live in the property as your main place of residence.

How to apply for an IBA home loan

  1. You first need to complete an Expression of Interest form, which can be filled in online. You can save your EOI and return to it at any time.
  2. After your EOI has been submitted, an IBA Home Loans Officer will be in touch with you to go through your eligibility and circumstances.
  3. If eligible, you will be asked to submit an application alongside other supporting documents, like your proof of income and identity verification.
  4. If you are deemed eligible, your name will be added to the Expression of Interest register while you wait for funds to become available.
  5. When funds do become available, IBA will contact you and ask you to submit a Housing Loan Application alongside other supporting documents, like your proof of income and identity verification. The application will then be used to see if you qualify and how much you may be eligible to borrow.

IBA may only offer you a loan for part of the amount you've requested or need to make your purchase, you will then be required to seek the remainder of the funds from an alternate lender.

NSW: AHO Home Ownership Grants

Aboriginal people living in NSW may qualify for support through the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO). There are several grants on offer:

  • Home Buyer Booster Grant. Up to $2,500, you can use this grant to cover some costs associated with home buying, such as home insurance, legal fees or building inspections. You must be a private renter or social housing tenant who has saved at least $1,000 to qualify.
  • Deadly Deposit Grant. This grant matches the amount you have saved for a deposit, dollar for dollar, to a maximum amount of $10,000. You must have saved at least $1,000 to qualify.
  • AHO Tenancy Plus Grant. If you are a long-term AHO tenant, you can get extra contributions towards your deposit savings, up to a maximum amount of $20,000.

There are income limits for all these grants. You must be an Aboriginal person living in NSW who does not currently own a home. You may also be eligible for a combination of grants:

  • Home Buyer Booster Grant and Deadly Deposit Grant; or,
  • Home Buyer Booster Grant and AHO Tenancy Plus Grant.

WA: Keystart Aboriginal Home Loans

If you live in Western Australia and are Indigenous, you can take advantage of a Keystart Aboriginal Home Loan. This gives you 2 options: to buy the property in a shared ownership scheme with the Department of Housing, or full ownership of the property.

The deposit required starts from 2% for properties below $560,000. No lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) is charged. Properties in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions will require a larger deposit, but also have a higher maximum property price. There are also income limits that you need to meet and this also varies based on location of the property.

The maximum amount you can borrow also depends on whether or not the property is purchased with the Department of Housing in a shared ownership scheme, or you take full ownership. The maximum loan term is 30 years.

In a shared ownership scheme, the Western Australia Housing Authority will fund up to 40% of the property's value.

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Richard Whitten is a money editor at Finder, and has been covering home loans, property and personal finance for 6+ years. He has written for Yahoo Finance, Money Magazine and Homely; and has appeared on various radio shows nationwide. He holds a Certificate IV in mortgage broking and finance (RG 206), a Tier 1 Generic Knowledge certification and a Tier 2 General Advice Deposit Products (RG 146) certification. See full bio

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80 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    JocelynMarch 13, 2019

    Can I get a home loan on a Disability Pension???

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiMarch 14, 2019

      Hi Jocelyn,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      Generally, a disability pension is considered a valid form of income by most lenders so a home loan application for someone on a disability pension is not treated any differently from an application where someone services their loan with other forms of income. Your options can be viewed from our pensioner home loans page. Alternatively, you can speak to a mortgage broker who can take your personal circumstance into account and offer you a range of borrowing options.

      As a friendly reminder, review the eligibility criteria of the loan before applying to increase your chances of approval. Read up on the terms and conditions and product disclosure statement and contact the bank should you need any clarifications about the policy.

      Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

    Default Gravatar
    SallyJuly 30, 2018

    Hello,

    My partner is of Aboriginal descent and would like apply for a home loan. We would like to know what he needs to prove he is or could someone give me a call?

      AvatarFinder
      JeniAugust 4, 2018Finder

      Hi Sally,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      To apply for an IBA housing loan you must first register your interest by completing the online Expression of Interest Form.

      Your partner may be asked to provide proof or confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage when applying for Indigenous-specific services or programs like Centrelink and housing assistance (Indigenous-specific). Government agencies will often supply your partner with their particular guidelines, and ask him to complete a form or provide a letter of ‘Confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Heritage’.

      The family history research tool can help your partner find evidence of his connection to his Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ancestors.

      If your partner is eligible, his name will be added to the Expression of Interest Register and he will be invited to apply for an IBA housing loan as funds become available.

      IBA will then write to your partner and ask him to submit a Housing Loan Application which will be used to determine whether he qualifies for a loan and the amount he may be able to borrow.

      You may also want to know if you and your partner may be able to get assistance from the first home buyers to grant scheme of your state or territory by checking out the guide on this page.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    LindaJuly 9, 2018

    Hi I’m aboriginal and looking at buying a house needing to know what I would need to apply for a home loan…
    Thanks in advance
    Linda

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiJuly 13, 2018

      Hi Linda!

      Here are the eligibility requirements for IBA housing loans:

      -Over 18 years of age.
      -At least one applicant must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
      -Must be able to meet minimum deposit requirements, may be able to get assistance from the first home buyers grant scheme of your state or territory.
      -Be able to have the capacity to meet housing loan repayments.
      -Meet further housing loan requirements that are relevant to your home purchase.

      Here are the steps you need to take in order to qualify and apply for an IBA Home Loan:

      1. Download and submit an Expression of Interest form, a Confirmation of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Descent form and a completed Consent to use your personal information form, all of which you can find on the IBA website.
      2. Along with the forms you will also need proof of income, evidence of your ability to pay legal fees and stamp duty costs, evidence of your ability to pay the deposit and details of current land or home ownership not financed through IBA.
      3. If you are deemed eligible, your name will be added to the Expression of interest register and you will be invited to apply for an IBA housing loan as funds become available.
      4. When funds become available IBA will contact you and ask you to submit a Housing Loan Application, this will then be used to see if you qualify and how much you may be eligible to borrow.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Nikki

    Default Gravatar
    ReneFebruary 19, 2018

    If I already have a home loan through iba can I unlock equity in current home to buy investment property using iba

      Default Gravatar
      LiezlMarch 13, 2018

      Hi Rene,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      I’m afraid IBA does not grant loans for business or investment purposes. You may want to consider other lenders offering home equity loans. Better still, speak to a mortgage broker who can take into consideration your current situation and find a suitable loan or lender for you.

      Best regards,
      Liezl

    Default Gravatar
    PennyJuly 16, 2017

    Hello My daughter-in-law is of Aboriginal descent and she and our son have a home which is not now suitable for their new-born baby. They have about $300k equity and now wish to look elsewhere and if possible use the Indigenous scheme, but do not have the capacity to borrow what is needed. might they be eligible under your scheme?..

    Thanks Penny

      Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 27, 2017

      Hello Penny,

      Thank you for your inquiry today.

      They should be eligible as joint applicants. Please note that only one person is required to meet the required Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent. If you wish to know more, see IBA’s guide in applying for an IBA housing loan.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

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