Line of equity uses

Refinancing a home loan without equity

How can refinancing a home with minimal equity become a reality?

Home Loan Tip

Refinancing a home involves moving from your existing home loan to a new home loan. During the process, many lenders allow you to borrow more, provided that your property value has increased and you've paid off enough of your mortgage.

As a rule of thumb, you typically need at least 20% equity build up in your property to qualify for a refinance home loan. However, there many be some niche or specialist lenders that will approve your refinance application with less than this amount.

Keep in mind that it may not be possible to refinance your home loan with no equity.

While 100% home loans are no longer available, there are ways that you can apply for a refinanced mortgage with little equity such as through a guarantor loan.

Read on to find out how you can switch lenders with minimal equity.

Information about low deposit home loans

The loans below are not 0% deposit or no equity home loans, but allow applications from borrowers with 5 - 10% deposit or equity.

Compare 90 - 95% LVR home loans

Rates last updated May 23rd, 2018
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
$0 p.a.
Family guarantee option available. Enjoy flexible repayments and a low minimum loan amount.
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
A fixed rate home loan with additional repayment options.
$0 p.a.
Buy a home with just a 5% deposit and get flexible repayment options and a redraw facility.
$0 p.a.
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.
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
Fix in a competitive rate for three years.
$299 p.a.
A fully featured home loan with an offset account and discounts available.
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
Get a 2-year fixed rate with flexible repayment options to help you save.
$395 p.a.
Refinancers can get $1,500 cashback. Conditions apply. Package your home loan with a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card.
$395 p.a.
Get discounts on a range of Commonwealth Bank products and enjoy the option of fee-free extra repayments during the fixed term.
$395 p.a.
You can save on a host of Westpac products by packaging your 5-year fixed rate home loan.
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
Enjoy a competitive interest rate, make fee free extra repayments and a redraw facility.
$395 p.a.
Pay no application fee with 100% offset account with redraw facility and borrow up to 95% LVR.
$0 p.a.
Ideal for first home owners or anyone who wants a no-frills, basic variable rate home loan.
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
The Westpac Rocket Repay Home Loan lets borrowers to own their home sooner with a 100% offset to save on interest.
$395 p.a.
A package home loan with discounted interest rate.

Compare up to 4 providers

  • refinance home loanConsider specialist lenders. If you're looking to refinance and you've only built up a small amount of equity in your home, think about refinancing to specialist lenders or building societies. These lenders may have more lenient eligibility criteria when it comes to determining your serviceability potential. If you can demonstrate that you have enough savings, income or assets to service the loan, the lender may overlook the minimal amount of equity that you have.
  • Find a guarantor. With a small amount of equity in your existing home, you may want to refinance to a guarantor loan. This can boost your borrowing capacity as the guarantor essentially takes responsibility for servicing the loan if you default.
  • Independent valuation. If you can prove that your property has increased in value, then the lender may be more inclined to let you refinance and borrow a larger amount of funds.
  • Speak to a broker. When undergoing the refinancing process, it's a good idea to sit down with a broker to discuss your options with a mortgage broker. An experienced broker can draw upon their relationships with lenders to find one that's more likely to review your application. A broker can also negotiate the terms of the refinanced mortgage on your behalf.
  • Request a copy of credit file. With a small amount of equity, you present a larger risk to the lender. This is why it may be a good idea to take measures to trim your existing debt and clean up your credit file. If you can show the lender that you make a conscious effort to meet your repayments on time and make extra repayments in the past, then they may be more likely to approve your refinance application.

What's equity?

Equity refers to the portion of your property that you actually own, which can be worked out by subtracting the outstanding loan amount from the market value of the property.

Calculating your equity

Calculate your equity

For example, if you purchased a home for $450,000 with a $70,000 deposit and five years later had paid off $35,000 from your principal, you'd be left with a principal of $345,000. If your property had increased in value, let's say by 10%, you'd have $150,000 in equity in your home.

How to work out principal remaining

$450,000 (original purchase price) - $70,000 (deposit) = $380,000

$380,000 - $35,000 (amount of principal paid off after five years) = $345,000

10% (value increase) of $450,000 = $45,000

$450,000 + $45,000 = $495,000

$495,000 - $345,000 (principal remaining) = $150,000.

How much equity do I need to refinance?

The amount of equity that you need to refinance will depend on the lender's individual criteria. However, it's important to note that many loans come with a maximum LVR of 95%, which means you cannot borrow more than 95% of the value of your home.

As a result, if you wish to refinance you need to have at least 5% equity in your home. Generally, you need at least 20% equity build up in order to qualify for a refinanced mortgage.

If you've only had your existing home loan for 5-10 years, refinancing may be risky as you may not have built up enough equity to qualify with a new lender and switching lenders may not benefit you financially. This is why it may be important to speak with your accountant or mortgage broker to ensure that refinancing is the right decision for you.

Learn more about the amount of equity that you need to refinance your mortgage.

Why do we need equity to refinance or purchase a property?

Equity is important to a lender because it indicates the amount of risk you have as a borrower. A smaller amount of equity means you own less of your home and therefore means there's a greater chance that if you defaulted on your loan and had to sell your property, the value of the property wouldn't be enough to cover the outstanding principal.

Prior to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), 100% loans where you needed no deposit were common within the home loan market. However, following the GFC, many banks have tightened their lending criteria as they recognise the importance for borrowers to complete a deposit as it protects the lender in the event that they default on the loan.

Marc Terrano

Marc Terrano is a content marketer manager at finder. He's been writing and publishing personal finance content for over five years and loves to help Australians get a better deal.

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Important Information*
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier P&I) First Home Buyer Special

Start your home buying journey with 2 years of fixed repayments and a reasonable rate from a big 4 bank. Available with a 10% deposit.

UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount Offer for Owner Occupied Variable P&I Rate — borrowing $700,000 or more

Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a redraw facility and flexible repayment schedule. Refinance to a UBank loan and you could get $1,000 in your USaver account (offer conditions apply).

Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)

Loans over $150k get a discount off an already low fixed rate. Available for NSW, Qld and ACT residents only.

Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer ($150,000+ Owner Occupier, P&I)

New borrowers or refinancers from another lender get a discounted rate with this package loan.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    RachelAugust 21, 2014

    We want to refinance our mortgage.
    Current professional evaluation came in at $865,000 resale and we currently have a home loan of $715,000 and wish to increase it to $780,000.
    We also have a guarantor willing to put up an unmortgaged property over the loan. We have already been rejected by Westpac as they apparently don’t allow guarantee on a refinance only a new home purchase.
    I had never heard of this, please advise your thoughts……

    • Staff
      ShirleyAugust 22, 2014Staff

      Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for your question.

      In general, guarantors are designed to help first home buyers purchase a property. Some banks might not be able to offer this feature when it comes to refinancing.

      If you’d like, you might want to speak to a mortgage broker; they may be able to point you in the right direction and help you with your application.


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