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LenderHome LoanInterest Rate Comparison Rate* Monthly Repayment Repayment type Rate Type Offset Redraw Ongoing Fees Upfront Fees LVR Lump Sum Repayment Additional Repayments Split Loan Option TagsFeaturesLinkCompare
6.14% p.a.
6.20% p.a.
$2,047
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$835
70%
6.43% p.a.
6.68% p.a.
$2,143
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$530
90%
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6.39% p.a.
6.16% p.a.
$2,130
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$0
70%
6.54% p.a.
6.49% p.a.
$2,180
Interest-only
Variable
$10
$799
80%
6.54% p.a.
6.56% p.a.
$2,180
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$530
80%
6.34% p.a.
6.95% p.a.
$2,280
Interest-only
Variable
$150
$350
95%
6.64% p.a.
6.55% p.a.
$2,213
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$0
80%
6.69% p.a.
7.02% p.a.
$2,380
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$500
90%
6.72% p.a.
6.42% p.a.
$2,240
Interest-only
Variable
$10
$690
90%
6.73% p.a.
6.39% p.a.
$2,243
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$0
60%
6.75% p.a.
6.87% p.a.
$2,250
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$0
80%
6.84% p.a.
7.27% p.a.
$2,280
Interest-only
Variable
$395
$0
95%
6.89% p.a.
6.91% p.a.
$2,297
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$600
70%
7.19% p.a.
6.52% p.a.
$2,397
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$495
90%
7.19% p.a.
6.62% p.a.
$2,397
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$840
90%
7.19% p.a.
6.92% p.a.
$2,397
Interest-only
Variable
$10
$450
80%
7.79% p.a.
7.49% p.a.
$2,597
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$160
80%
7.46% p.a.
7.27% p.a.
$2,487
Interest-only
Variable
$8
$0
80%
9.29% p.a.
9.17% p.a.
$3,097
Interest-only
Variable
$8
$800
95%
8.14% p.a.
8.14% p.a.
$2,713
Interest-only
Variable
$0
$0
70%
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Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) & interest only (IO) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. Some products will be marked as promoted, featured or sponsored and may appear prominently in the tables regardless of their attributes. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the product provider’s website. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of . View disclaimer.

What is an interest-only home loan?

An interest-only (IO) home loan does not require repayments of the principal borrowed amount for a specific period of time - the regular payments consist only of interest charges on the loan. Generally, the interest-only period sits between three and five years.

How do interest-only home loans work?

Interest-only home loan payments only cover the interest owed on the principal amount. This means you're not chipping away at the principal amount borrowed unlike a typical principal and interest (P&I) home loan.

After the interest-only period ends, your mortgage will shift back to a principal and interest (P&I) loan repayment structure. This means that the amount you are contributing will begin to pay off the principal, rather than just covering interest. Ultimately this means you will be required to make larger repayments, given you are now paying for both aspects of the loan (principal and interest).

Most borrowers opt for a home loan with principal and interest (P&I) repayments. These loans typically offer better interest rates than interest-only loans, plus they build equity in the home sooner - meaning there’s less principal for interest to be charged on over the life of the loan.

Who is best suited to an interest-only loan?

Interest-only loans tend to be particularly appealing to property investors more so than traditional home buyers. This is because investors rely on on limiting non-interest expenses to enable them to free up cash for other investments.

On the other hand, interest-only home loans can be beneficial to home buyers looking to manage a number of debts including car loans, personal loans or credit card debts. This is because interest-only mortgage repayments are typically lower, meaning a greater portion of finances can be placed towards paying off other debts.

It is important to note that while repayments may initially be smaller, you will likely end up paying more over the life of your mortgage given you accumulate more interest while not paying off the principal over the interest-only period, plus interest rates are typically higher for interest-only loans.

To calculate interest-only home loan repayments and to help determine whether this loan option may be suited to your financial position, check out our Interest-Only Home Loan Calculator.

Comparing interest-only rates

Pros and cons of interest-only mortgages

The decision to take out an interest-only mortgage should only be made after carefully considering the benefits and risks involved. Some of these are outlined below.

Interest-only pros

1. Lower repayments

Temporary lower repayments during the interest-only period could help you save more money for other expenses including renovations or pay off more expensive debts.

2. Investment Strategy

If you're an investor, you could claim higher tax deductions from an investment property. Investors may also look to sell properties within the interest-only period to reduce expenses.

3. Buying time

The reduced repayments effectively let people buy time through the delaying of higher repayments. Whether it be a temporary reduction of income or a temporary increase in expenses, if borrowers are confident of returning back to a level of income or expense ‘normality’ at the end of the interest-only term, then interest-only loans are a great way for them to effectively buy time and flexibility.

4. Alternative loans

An interest-only home loan may be useful for short-term loans, such as bridging finance or a construction loan.

Interest-only cons

1. Higher interest costs

Since you’re not paying off the principal over the interest-only period, you’ll end up paying more interest over the life of your loan than a borrower paying both principal and interest.

2. Higher interest rates

Interest-only loans often have a higher rate of interest than principal & interest (P&I) loans. This means paying more over the life of the loan. 

3. Repayment shock

If you’re not prepared, the expiry of an interest-only period can come as a shock as the costs of repayments suddenly increase. This is because you are paying nothing off the loan principal during the interest-only period. 

4. Less equity

If your property doesn't increase in value during the interest-only period, you won't build up any equity. This can put you at risk if there's a market downturn, or your circumstances change and you want to sell.

How long can you take out an interest-only loan for?

Interest-only periods usually last between 3 and 5 years. Some lenders offer interest-only periods of up to 10 to 15 years, but this may be restricted to investors. You may be able to negotiate the length of the interest-only period with your lender, depending on your personal circumstances.

What happens when interest-only loans expire?

When your interest-only loan period expires, your loan will roll over to principal and interest repayments. This means you’ll be paying off the outstanding principal as well as interest.

There are three main options you can pursue if your interest-only loan period is ending:

  • Extend the interest-only period: Lenders will want to keep their customers and may be willing to extend your interest-only period. This will probably be subject to a credit assessment and property valuation.
  • Refinance to another loan: If you’re nearing the end of your interest-only period, it might be a good idea to review your interest rate and finances before comparing other options in the market. Other lenders might be able to offer a better rate on a principal and interest loan than the rate of what your interest-only loan is rolling over to.
  • Ride out the expiry: If you’ve planned well and you’re confident that you’ll afford the P&I repayments (and you’re happy with your interest rate), riding out the expiry of the interest-only period and transitioning to the P&I stage of your current home loan is the most hassle-free option at your disposal.

Interest only vs principal & interest repayments

The key difference between principal and interest and interest-only repayments is principal and interest loans pay off the actual loan principal right from the beginning. So the actual house you’ve borrowed all that money for is being slowly paid off, whereas interest-only loans only pay the extra interest costs.

The table below highlights the difference in monthly and total repayments of an interest-only and principal and interest home loan, based on the average home loan size of $610,000 over 30 years at an interest rate of 5.00% p.a. The interest-only loan term for this example is 5 years, meaning the remaining 25 years is with a principal and interest loan.

 

Loan amount

Monthly repayment during IO period

Monthly repayment after IO period

Total cost (principal & interest) of the loan

P&I loan 

$610,000

N/A

$3,275

$1,178,860

IO loan

$610,000

$2,542

$3,566

$1,222,300

Total cost difference

N/A

N/A

+$291

+$43,440

Savings.com.au’s two cents

Interest-only loans can offer great opportunities to build cumulative wealth from buying and selling property in rising markets. The flip-side to this opportunity is the risk that lies in getting caught when the market turns and profits do not materialise (or disappear).

In this (unexpected) situation, interest-only loans can harm wealth through increased repayments after the interest-only period and/or having to sell the property at a net loss due to values falling and an inability to service new larger repayments.

Interest-only loans can be a great short-term solution for property investors and owner-occupiers alike, but they tend to have more benefits for property investors, while owner-occupiers (outside of what might be described as extraordinary circumstances) are generally better suited towards a standard principal and interest loan.

Do your research and read the terms and conditions before making a purchase decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Just as you can with a variable rate principal and interest mortgage, it is possible to pay off a variable rate interest-only mortgage early. This would typically involve either selling the house or making very large voluntary principal repayments.

Deposit requirements vary by lender, but like principal and interest mortgages, many lenders require a deposit of at least 5% of the property’s value. However, to qualify for some of the lowest rates and to avoid having to pay for LMI, you may need to have a deposit of at least 20%.

If you have bad credit, it will be more difficult to get any home loan, but it is possible. Here’s how to improve your chances of getting a home loan.

Having an interest-only mortgage does not affect your credit rating any more than having a principal and interest mortgage.

Many lenders do offer interest-only mortgages to first home buyers, however, it’s important that first time buyers are fully aware of what interest-only loans are and how they work before applying for one.

It’s only worth overpaying an interest-only mortgage if the excess funds go towards paying down the principal. As stated above, you’ll often have to inform your lender each time you wish to make a payment off the principal during an interest-only period.

Yes, there are many interest-only fixed-rate mortgages available. Fixed rate interest-only home loans are short-term home loan contracts that only require you to pay off the interest on the amount borrowed and pay at a fixed rate.

Many lenders allow variable rate interest-only borrowers to make lump sum repayments off the principal during the interest-only period, however, you may be required to fill out a form each time you want to do so.

Borrowers may apply to switch to interest-only payments from principal and interest, but this is subject to lender’s approval.