Which lenders offer low or no-cost LMI?

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on October 18, 2021
Which lenders offer low or no-cost LMI?

Lenders mortgage insurance can be a significant cost, but luckily there’s a few banks and lenders that have discounts or special LMI offers.

LMI, or lenders mortgage insurance, is essentially an insurance premium that YOU pay to cover the risk for your lender. The risk for the lender is taking you on as a borrower with a smaller deposit. LMI, depending on provider and deposit size, can add tens of thousands to your home loan. It’s also often capitalised into the loan - unless you pay upfront - which makes it even more expensive because it’ll be charged interest.

However, there are a few discounts and offers on LMI by some banks and lenders, which we’ll explore below.


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Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Lender

Variable
More details
UNLIMITED REDRAWSSPECIAL OFFER
  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
UNLIMITED REDRAWSSPECIAL OFFER

Smart Booster Home Loan Discounted Variable - 2yr (LVR < 80%)

  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
Variable
More details
AN EASY DIGITAL APPLICATION
  • No ongoing fees - None!
  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
  • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
  • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster
AN EASY DIGITAL APPLICATION

Neat Variable Home Loan (Principal and Interest) (LVR < 60%)

  • No ongoing fees - None!
  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
  • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
  • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster
Variable
More details
100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES
  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services
100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES

Low Rate Home Loan - Prime (Principal and Interest) (Owner Occupied) (LVR < 60%)

  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services
Variable
More details
NSW/VIC/SA METRO & INNER REGIONAL AREAS$5000 CASHBACK. T&Cs APPLY.
  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services
NSW/VIC/SA METRO & INNER REGIONAL AREAS$5000 CASHBACK. T&Cs APPLY.

Variable Home Loan (Principal and Interest)

  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) 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. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. 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 May 22, 2022. View disclaimer.

Low or No Cost LMI Home Loans and Offers

There are generally only a few ways borrowers can pay low or zero LMI premiums, which can include having:

However, another way is through a special offer or deal. Australia’s competitive home loan market means lenders will fight for good borrowers with enticing discounts and promotions. Lately, some of these have included discounted or waived LMI for those with a 15% deposit.

The below list is not exhaustive - these are just upfront offers. You might find lenders are willing to be a bit more flexible on a case-by-case basis, especially if you’re a doctor or in another esteemed profession. You might also get special broker-only offers, so if you’re using a mortgage broker, it could pay to speak with them directly.

We’ve endeavoured to list some of these deals below, but do keep in mind - ‘special offers’ could end at any time.

UBank

UBank waives LMI on some home loan products if the borrower has a 15% deposit - 85% LVR.

In fact, LMI is waived across all home loans - variable and one, three and five-year fixed options - for owner occupiers should they have a 15-20% deposit, paying principal & interest (P&I).

According to UBank, owner occupiers could save $5,000 in insurance costs on an average loan of $480,000 by saving for a $72,000 deposit (15%) instead of $96,000 (20%).

86 400

The neobank now owned by NAB waives LMI for owner occupiers making P&I payments with a 15% deposit. It is available through its ‘Neat’ and ‘Own’ variable home loans, as well as fixed home loans for one, two, three or five years.

The main difference between ‘Neat’ and ‘Own’ product lines is that the Own line comes with an offset account.

86 400 crunched the numbers and found borrowers in Sydney could save more than $10,000 on the median property value.

St. George Bank, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA

The Westpac subsidiaries have their ongoing and popular offer of $1 LMI. If you’re a first home buyer on P&I payments, and have a deposit of 15%, you’ll pay only $1 for LMI with a maximum loan size of $850,000 (i.e. a $1 million home value).

Only one applicant needs to be a first home buyer. For St. George, the offer is available across basic variable and fixed-rate product lines, or on variable home loans under the ‘Advantage Package’ line - an annual $395 annual package fee applies.

St. George says a family buying a $650,000 home could save around $6,000 in premiums by taking advantage of the offer.

RAMS

Westpac-owned RAMS has an offer where first home buyers paying P&I could save up to $5,000 on LMI premiums. Interestingly, the offer is available for first home buyers on either an owner occupier loan, or an investment loan, making it possible to ‘rentvest’.

Like other Westpac subsidiaries mentioned above, RAMS will charge $1 for LMI. For premiums that cost more than $5,000 the bank will chip-in $5,000. Where RAMS differs is that it is available for deposits as little as 5%, or 95% LVR.

However, on a home worth $500,000 with 95% LVR, LMI premiums could cost nearly $15,000 anyway, meaning the borrower is out-of-pocket nearly $10,000, and ultimately more if LMI is capitalised into the loan.

Pros of LMI offers and discounts

Get into market sooner

With a smaller deposit you’ll be able to get into the market sooner, and the capital gains could quickly outweigh any extra interest paid on the home loan. It also gets your foot in the door, and your deposit won’t dwindle with runaway housing prices. However, appreciation isn’t guaranteed.

Stop treading water earning little savings interest

It can be demoralising being a diligent saver and seeing your money earn barely any interest. Real savings can even go backwards when inflation is taken into account - it’s almost like the world just wants you to throw caution to the wind. As is often said these days, the best savings account is usually piling money into your home loan.

Build up equity and refinance

As you’re getting into the market sooner, you can start paying off your home loan sooner and build up equity. If you’re not impressed with your home loan interest rate, provided it’s variable you can usually refinance when you’ve built up at least 20% equity and attain a more competitive rate.

Cons of LMI offers and discounts

Higher interest rate

A lot of these home loans aren’t offering the lowest interest rates - the lowest rates are usually reserved for those who have a 20% or greater deposit. You’ll have to weigh up the extra interest paid versus time spent saving for a deposit and the potential for capital gains.

Compare LMI premiums

Not all LMI premiums are made equal. Depending on provider, lender and your deposit size, premiums could vary a lot, anywhere from 0.5% to more than 4.5% of the property’s value is common. This could add up to tens of thousands of dollars, which might outweigh the LMI discount in the first place.

May not offer much of a benefit

The home loan offerings typically waive LMI for borrowers with a 15% deposit. You’ll have to stop and ask yourself if it’s really that much more onerous to save up 20% and find a more competitive home loan deal. This is ultimately a personal decision.

As with most things in life, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. While you’ll get a discount on LMI with these offers, you might have to compromise in other areas. As always, shop around and consider your own finances and budget before applying for a home loan.


Photo by Maria Ziegler on Unsplash

Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered. Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site. Savings.com.au, yourmortgage.com.au, yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au, and Performance Drive are part of the Savings Media group. In the interests of full disclosure, the Savings Media Group are associated with the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings Media Group manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please visit the web site links at the bottom of this page.

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Harrison is Savings.com.au's Assistant Editor. Prior to joining Savings in January 2020, he worked for some of Australia's largest comparison sites and media organisations. With a keen interest in the economy, housing policy, and personal finance, Harrison strives to deliver and edit news and guides that are engaging, thought-provoking, and simple to read.

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