How much equity do I need to refinance my mortgage? | Finder

How much equity do I need to refinance?

The amount of equity you have in your home can determine your refinancing options.

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When you choose to refinance your existing home loan, you should take into account the amount of equity you’ve built up in your home. If you don't have enough equity refinancing could be a bad idea.

First up: What is equity?

Graphic explaining home equity.When you make payments towards the principal amount of your home loan you build up equity in your home. The equity is the difference between your home's value and what you have left to repay on your loan.

This is the money you can expect to remain if you sell your home and repay your loan with the proceeds from the sale.

For example, if you live in a home worth $750,000 and you still have to repay $250,000, you have $500,000 in equity. The equation for equity is given below:

Equity = property value - outstanding loan amount

How much equity do I need when refinancing?

Many loans come with a maximum LVR of 95%, which means you cannot borrow more than 95% of the value of your home. What this also means is that if you wish to refinance you must have at least 5% equity in your home.

To put yourself in the best position to refinance, you should have at least 20% equity in your home.

Applying for a refinanced home loan with no equity is difficult unless you can get someone to go guarantor. Find out more about how you can refinance your home loan with little or no equity.

Remember that lenders look at your equity as a means to assess risk. The more equity you have, the lower risk you present to the lender.

What if I don't have at least 20% in equity?

When you choose to refinance without at least 20% equity in your home, there's a good chance you'll have to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) again. This is because you cannot transfer the existing LMI to the new loan, despite the fact that your previous lender is no longer at risk.

While getting a rebate when you terminate your LMI policy is possible, it’s crucial that you ask for it. Most LMI policies don't offer rebates if you've held your home loan for longer than 12 or 24 months. Even if you do get a rebate, this is usually not for the full amount. If you have to get LMI again, you could pay thousands.

Consider LMI costs in the following examples which use the Genworth LMI calculator.

Home valueEquityLVRLMI cost
350,00060,00082.86%$2,233
500,00050,00090%$9,585
600,00080,00086.67%$9,048

As you can see, the cost of LMI can be highly expensive which can outweigh the value of any savings you could net from switching lenders.

Alternative options

Before comparing refinancing options, find out how much equity you have in your home. If you don’t have a 20% deposit saved but aren’t far off the mark, it might make sense to wait until you've built up a higher amount of equity. Check out this helpful guide to paying off your mortgage faster (and thus building equity).

Alternatively, you can consider applying for a guarantor home loan or applying with specialist banks that may have less stringent lending criteria for refinance mortgages.

Need expert help? Speak to a mortgage broker

Refinancing home loans comparison

Data updated regularly
$
% p.a.
years
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate^ Application Fee Ongoing Fees Maximum Insured LVR Amount Saved
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed
1.89%
2.85%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$61,167.02
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.
HSBC Fixed Rate Home Loan Package
1.88%
2.86%
$0
$390 p.a.
80%
$61,044.54
$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.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
1.75%
2.22%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$64,892.81
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
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan
2.29%
2.72%
$0
$8 p.a.
95%
$50,287.27
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%
$61,977.38
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).
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.19%
2.19%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$53,040.06
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%
$58,479.66
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%
$57,788.68
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%
$60,772.02
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%
$55,770.62
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%
$44,577.54
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).
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
2.34%
2.34%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$48,903.84
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%
$46,119.67
$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%
$58,479.66
Fix your mortgage for 1 year with a very competitive rate and no ongoing fees.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.14%
2.16%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$54,408.06
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fees. This loan is not available for construction.
Greater Bank Great Rate Fixed Home Loan
1.69%
3.49%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
$66,246.88
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%
$44,719.6
A competitive variable rate home loan for owner-occupiers. Requires a 40% deposit. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed
2.28%
3.15%
$0
$375 p.a.
80%
$50,189.12
Lock in a low fixed rate loan for three years and get the annual package fee waived in the first year. Available for borrowers with 10% deposits.
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan
2.44%
2.45%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$46,119.67
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 p.a.
95%
$57,959.5
NSW and ACT customers only. 3 years fixed interest terms and free access to redraw facility online. Available with a 10% deposit.
Virgin Money Reward Me Fixed Rate Home Loan
1.94%
2.77%
$300
$10 p.a.
80%
$59,231.26
$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%
$44,577.54
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).
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.24%
2.26%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$51,666.66
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%
$44,577.54
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).
Bank of Melbourne Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
1.94%
3.21%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$59,299.05
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
Lock in a low fixed rate loan for four years. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 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%
$47,461.97
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.
Westpac Fixed Option Home Loan Premier Advantage Package
1.99%
3.29%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$58,084.66
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback. Lock in a very low rate for four years with this owner occupier loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get up to $3,000 cashback. Other conditions apply.
BankSA Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
1.89%
3.43%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$60,425.96
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%
$61,977.38
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%
$57,788.68
Home buyers can lock in this low fixed rate for two years. This loan also allows extra repayments. Requires a 20% deposit.
BankSA Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
1.99%
3.26%
$0
$395 p.a.
$57,733.84
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
A competitive fixed rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Heritage Bank Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.19%
4.23%
$600
$8 p.a.
95%
$52,015.55
Get a partial offset account and the option to make interest-only repayments.
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package
1.94%
3.21%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$59,299.05
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
Lock in a very low rate for four years. Requires a 20% deposit. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get up to $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.24%
2.21%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
$51,666.66
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%
$50,169.12
$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%
$41,903.57
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%
$41,037.62
A competitive variable rate for borrowers with 20% deposits saved. Available for NSW and ACT borrowers only.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.69%
2.52%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$39,066.37
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%
$54,408.06
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%
$40,824.07
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%
$54,408.06
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%
$46,954.14
Get a partial offset account and flexible repayments with this package loan.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.54%
2.54%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$43,314.23
Investors with large 40% deposits or equity can get this low variable rate. A competitive option for investors looking to refinance.
loans.com.au Smart Booster Discount Variable Home Loan
1.99%
2.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$57,788.68
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.
Macquarie Bank Basic Fixed Home Loan
2.19%
2.53%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$53,040.06
Borrow up to $750,000 with this basic 3 years fixed rate home loan. Refinancers can switch with a convenient digital application.
St.George Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$43,171.24
$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)
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.39%
2.41%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$47,514.42
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.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Real Deal Home Loan
2.59%
2.63%
$595
$0 p.a.
80%
$41,047.16
$2,000 refinance cashback
$2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
Bankwest Complete Home Loan Package Variable
2.55%
3.01%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$42,224.86
$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).
IMB Budget Home Loan
2.68%
2.74%
$449
$0 p.a.
95%
$38,187.43
NSW and ACT customers only. You can get an interest rate discount for a limited time with this competitive variable mortgage.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.59%
2.61%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$41,903.57
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.
Virgin Money Reward Me Variable Home Loan
2.59%
2.76%
$300
$10 p.a.
60%
$41,255.02
$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.
Bank of Melbourne Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$43,171.24
$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).
Newcastle Permanent Building Society  Premium Plus Package Fixed Rate
2.19%
3.72%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$52,645.06
$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.
IMB Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.49%
3.36%
$449
$6 p.a.
90%
$43,584.09
NSW and ACT customers only. A 3 years fixed rate investor which allows extra repayments to be made.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.38%
4.11%
$595
$0 p.a.
90%
$46,959.7
$2,000 refinance cashback
Competitive fixed rate for home buyers.Available with a 10% deposit.$2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan
2.94%
3.34%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$31,486.78
$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.
Virgin Money Reward Me Variable Home Loan
2.5%
2.67%
$300
$10 p.a.
60%
$43,798.03
A variable rate loan for owner occupiers with a 40% deposit (or equity).
HSBC Home Value Loan
2.54%
2.55%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$43,314.23
A competitive value home loan with no ongoing fee.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.29%
3.94%
$595
$0 p.a.
95%
$49,464.79
$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.
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