Can you get a mortgage with a 5% deposit in Australia?

Securing a mortgage with a 5% deposit in Australia is possible, particularly with assistance from government programs like the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which helps first-time buyers purchase homes without paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance. However, buyers must meet strict eligibility criteria and should budget for additional costs, such as stamp duty and legal fees, while exploring all financial options with the guidance of experts.

In recent years, the dream of owning a home in Australia has seemed increasingly out of reach for many, particularly first-time buyers facing skyrocketing property prices. However, the possibility of securing a mortgage with a relatively low deposit, as little as 5%, offers a glimmer of hope. This article explores the feasibility of this option, delving into the nuances of the mortgage process and the implications of a smaller deposit.

Understanding Mortgage Deposits

A mortgage deposit is essentially the initial upfront payment made when purchasing a property, typically expressed as a percentage of the total property price. In Australia, standard deposits range from 10% to 20%, although this can vary significantly based on lender requirements and the buyer's financial situation. A smaller deposit might make a property more accessible but also impacts loan terms and costs.

Using a 5% Deposit

Opting for a 5% deposit could significantly lower the entry barrier to homeownership. For instance, on a $500,000 property, a 5% deposit amounts to $25,000—far more achievable for many than a $100,000 deposit required for 20%. However, smaller deposits come with higher risks and costs, particularly through increased loan amounts and the necessity of Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

Eligibility for Low Deposit Mortgages

Securing a mortgage with a 5% deposit isn't available to everyone and typically requires stringent eligibility criteria to be met. Lenders will look closely at an applicant's income stability, employment history, credit score, and other debts. These factors help the lender assess the risk posed by a borrower with a lower deposit.

Additional Costs and Considerations

While a 5% deposit reduces the initial amount needed to purchase a home, it does not alleviate the need to budget for additional costs. These include stamp duty, legal fees, and, most notably, Lenders Mortgage Insurance. LMI protects the lender (not the borrower) against the potential default on a loan, and its cost can be substantial when only a small deposit is made. This insurance can add thousands of dollars to the overall cost of a mortgage.

Government Programs and Incentives

The Australian government has implemented several schemes to assist buyers, particularly first-timers, in entering the housing market. One prominent program is the First Home Guarantee (FHG), which allows eligible buyers to secure a loan with just a 5% deposit without paying LMI. Such schemes are pivotal in making low deposit mortgages more accessible but come with their own set of eligibility requirements.

Alternatives to a 5% Deposit

For those unable to meet the stringent requirements for a low deposit mortgage or who wish to avoid hefty LMI fees, there are alternatives. Guarantor loans, where a family member or friend uses their own home's equity as security, can help buyers access better loan terms. Joint mortgages with another person can also increase the borrowing power and make a higher deposit more feasible.

Case Studies

Consider the case of Cheyenne, a first-time buyer in Melbourne who purchased her home with a 5% deposit under the FHLDS. By saving $25,000 and choosing a property eligible under the scheme, she was able to avoid LMI and secure her mortgage with more favourable terms. Her story highlights the importance of government assistance programs and careful financial planning.

Expert Advice

Financial advisors and mortgage brokers consistently stress the importance of understanding all aspects of a mortgage before committing, especially with a low deposit. They recommend budgeting for all potential costs and exploring all available government assistance. Advice from experts can provide crucial insights and prevent costly mistakes.


Securing a mortgage with a 5% deposit in Australia is indeed possible and can be a viable path to homeownership for many, especially with the aid of government schemes. However, it requires careful consideration of the increased costs, particularly LMI, and stringent eligibility criteria.

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