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 indicated here is updated regularly
$
% p.a.
years
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate^ Application Fee Ongoing Fees Maximum Insured LVR Amount Saved
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.
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 Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$43,171.24
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback. With this competitive variable rate loan from St.George, refinancers borrowing $250,000+ can get up $4,000 cashback and borrow up to 80% of the property's value. (Terms, conditions & exclusions apply).
HSBC Fixed Rate Home Loan
1.88%
2.98%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$61,434.54
Lock in a competitive fixed rate for 2 years and buy your home with a 20% deposit.
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan
2.54%
2.55%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$43,314.23
A competitive variable interest rate loan with low fees. The establishment fee is waived if you borrow $150,000 or more.
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.
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.
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed
1.89%
2.94%
$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.
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package
2.09%
3.46%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$55,020.05
Lock in a low fixed rate for the first two years. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get cashbacks between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on their loan to value ratio (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply
Westpac Fixed Option Home Loan Premier Advantage Package
2.09%
3.5%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$55,375.62
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
Competitive fixed rate home loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get up to $3,000 cashback. Other conditions apply.
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 fee. This loan is not available for construction.
Virgin Money Reward Me Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.04%
2.79%
$300
$10 p.a.
80%
$56,525
$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 30 November 2020 and settle by 23 April 2021.
HSBC Home Value Loan
2.59%
2.6%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$41,903.57
Get a low interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Plus you can make extra repayments and free redraw online.
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.
St.George Basic Home Loan
2.59%
2.61%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$41,759.64
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback.
With this competitive variable rate loan from St.George, refinancers borrowing $250,000+ can get up $4,000 cashback and borrow up to 90% of the property's value. (Terms, conditions & exclusions apply).
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.
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.
Bank of Melbourne Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$43,171.24
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
A competitive variable rate loan from Bank of Melbourne. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get $4,000 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%
$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.
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.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.14%
2.35%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$54,408.06
Fix your mortgage for 1 year with a very competitive rate and no ongoing fees.
Bank of Melbourne Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
2.09%
3.46%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$55,240.95
Competitive fixed rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get cashbacks between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on their loan to value ratio (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply
BankSA Basic Home Loan
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$43,171.24
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
A competitive variable rate loan from BankSA. Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get a $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
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.
Bank of Melbourne Basic Home Loan
2.59%
2.61%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$41,523.59
Competitive variable rate home loan. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get cashbacks between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on their loan to value ratio (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply
BankSA Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan
2.09%
3.46%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
$55,020.05
Competitive fixed rate loan. Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get cashbacks between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on their loan to value ratio (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
1.95%
2.27%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$59,557.21
A competitive fixed interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Requires a 20% deposit.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.29%
2.23%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$50,287.93
A competitive variable rate mortgage for owner occupiers $0 application and $0 ongoing fees. This interest rate falls over time as you pay off the loan.
CUA Achieve Variable Home Loan
2.55%
2.6%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
$41,836.97
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.
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 30 November 2020 and settle by 23 April 2021.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.29%
2.72%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$50,287.93
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.84%
2.46%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$34,771.25
Owner occupiers can refinance to one of the most competitive interest-only rates in the market. No application fee and no ongoing fees.
Virgin Money Reward Me Variable Home Loan
2.5%
2.67%
$300
$10 p.a.
60%
$43,798.03
$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 30 November 2020 and settle by 23 April 2021.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.29%
2.36%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$50,287.93
A one year fixed rate offer with no ongoing bank fees.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.44%
2.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$46,119.67
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
HSBC Home Value Loan
2.64%
2.65%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
$40,487.62
A competitive value home loan with no ongoing fee.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.29%
2.35%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$50,287.93
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with no ongoing bank fees.
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