What is principal and interest on a home loan?

The money you borrow to buy a home is called the loan principal. The interest is what the lender charges on top.

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Principal is the amount of money you have borrowed from the bank (minus your repayments). Interest is the money charged on top of the principal and is calculated based on the interest rate and the size of the principal.
Interest and Principal breakdown
Most home loans require principal and interest repayments. This means your repayment is divided into two portions. Some is sent towards paying off the interest due on your outstanding loan amount, while the remainder goes towards paying off the outstanding loan amount itself.

Principal and interest versus interest only repayments

The alternative to principal and interest repayments is interest only repayments. With an interest only home loan you only repay the loan interest in the beginning of the loan. This makes your repayments smaller at first. But later on you must repay the loan principal too, so you will end up paying more in the long run.

Why can the amounts of interest and principal I pay change over the course of my loan?

When you start making mortgage repayments you might notice that most of your repayment is paying off the interest interest at the beginning of the loan. Only a small amount will go towards the principal. As you continue paying off the loan you'll pay off more principal and less interest.

Look at the two graphs below, based on a $250,000 loan at 5.70% p.a. over 25 years.

In the first month of repayments you’re paying interest on the whole amount you’ve borrowed, but as this amount is paid off over the years, the interest due is smaller.

But if you’re paying less interest and the principal is getting smaller, why are your repayments not getting smaller?

This is because your lender has worked out exactly how much you’ll need to spend on each repayment to pay off your loan in the term you’ve agreed to. The result of these calculations is called an amortisation schedule. The schedule shows how much of your payments go towards interest and how much goes towards principal payments and this will show that the amount that goes towards paying off the principal gets bigger as the years go on and does so at a faster rate.

Why do we pay interest?

A lender is a business, and like any other business it wants to make a profit. The interest you pay is part of their profit.

To answer why the interest we pay fluctuates we first need to know where lenders get the money they lend from.

When you apply for a loan, your lender will source funds for you from a range of places. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) almost half of this now comes from the domestic market. This means some of your loan money will be made up of funds taken from other Australian’s savings and term deposit accounts.

The other portion is borrowed from wholesale lenders, which can be from sources such as superannuation funds or other investment funds looking for safe investments.

When your lender's funding costs increase, they typically charge more interest to borrowers. The cash rate set by the RBA each month also has a significant bearing on how much interest is paid. This is why your repayments can fluctuate each month.

If the RBA lowers the cash rate, it could become cheaper for lenders to source funds for loans and therefore lenders may lower their interest rates. It’s part of the reason why a continual comparison of the other loans in the market is always necessary.

How to pay off your home loan faster

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Rates last updated January 27th, 2020
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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
St.George Basic Home Loan - LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.99%
3.01%
$500 (waived for loans above $150,000)
$0 p.a.
80%
Online only cashback offer: Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $4,000 cashback for their first application (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply). Buyers and refinancers can get this competitive variable interest rate. Application fee waived for loans above $150,000.

loans.com.au Smart Home Loan - (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.88%
2.90%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get one of the lowest variable interest rates on the market and pay 0 application or ongoing fees.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan - LVR up to 70% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.09%
3.09%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A simple mortgage with no application or ongoing fees that has extra repayments plus split and redraw options. Requires a 30% deposit.
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount offer for Owner Occupiers, P&I Borrowing over $200,000
2.84%
2.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
Bank of Melbourne Basic Home Loan - LVR above 60% up to 80% (Owner Occupiers, P&I)
2.99%
3.01%
$500 (waived for loans above $150,000)
$0 p.a.
80%
Online cashback offer: Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $4,000 cashback for their first application (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply). A low variable interest rate for home buyers and refinancers. Application fee waived for loans above $150,000.
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan - Better Together Special Offer $150k+ LVR<=90% Incl. LMI (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.03%
3.04%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get one free online redraw per month and pay no ongoing fees. Application fees are waived for loans above $150,000.
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
2.79%
3.82%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get one of the lowest rates on the market with this fixed rate mortgage. Available with just a 10% deposit. Guarantor option available. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan - LVR ≤ 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.19%
3.19%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application and ongoing fees and take advantage of split and redraw options.
Easy Street Standard Variable Special Home Loan
2.95%
2.99%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
This mortgage combines a very sharp interest rate with a 100% offset account and it's available with a 5% deposit.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR up to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.90%
2.92%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
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.

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Logo for St.George Basic Home Loan - LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
St.George Basic Home Loan - LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)

Online only cashback offer: Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $4,000 cashback for their first application (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply). Buyers and refinancers can get this competitive variable interest rate. Application fee waived for loans above $150,000.

Logo for UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount offer for Owner Occupiers, P&I Borrowing over $200,000
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount offer for Owner Occupiers, P&I Borrowing over $200,000

Take advantage of a low-fee mortgage with a special interest rate of just 2.84% p.a. and a 2.84% p.a. comparison rate.

Logo for Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan - Better Together Special Offer $150k+ LVR<=90% Incl. LMI (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan - Better Together Special Offer $150k+ LVR<=90% Incl. LMI (Owner Occupier, P&I)

Get one free online redraw per month and pay no ongoing fees. Application fees are waived for loans above $150,000.

Logo for loans.com.au Essentials - Variable (Owner Occupier, P&I)
loans.com.au Essentials - Variable (Owner Occupier, P&I)

A competitive interest rate home loan with interest only options. Interest rate 3.04% p.a.
comp rate of 3.06% p.a.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    CassimMay 21, 2019

    Looking for an investment loan

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiMay 21, 2019Staff

      Hi Cassim,

      Thanks for your inquiry!

      You can visit this page to find investment loan 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.

      A mortgage broker is the best person to reach out to see your options for investment loans. They can give you a multitude of options according to your situation. In the meantime, to give you an estimate of your monthly repayments, you may use the calculator we have on this page.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      With care,
      Nikki

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