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DHA Home Loan

Looking for a great investment opportunity? Defence Housing Australia (DHA) properties have become popular with investors who want guaranteed rental income and no tenanting obligations.

However, securing a loan to purchase a defence property can be difficult. Not all banks will take your rental income into account!

Luckily, we know which lenders have flexible policies and can approve your mortgage.

Can we help you buy a DHA house?

Banks will generally look at your asset position, credit history, income and employment status when determining how much you can borrow.

  • Borrowing 95% of the property value: investors purchasing a DHA property can apply for a home loan for up to 95% of the property value. You can also borrow additional funds to pay for Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) to a maximum of 97% of the purchase price.
  • 100% of your rental income less management fees: we know banks that can include 100% of rent less any management fees (normally 16.5%). This means that some banks can accept 83.5% of your rent.

Not every lender can help! Investors typically call us after having spoken to several banks, only to find out that DHA properties are not an acceptable security type.

Please enquire online or contact us on 1300 889 743 to speak to one of our mortgage brokers.

Purchasing Defence Housing Australia property

If you are an investor who wants to purchase a DHA property, there are generally two options available to you:

  • Buying a property subject to a DHA lease: from an investor who owns a property subject to a DHA lease agreement.
  • Buying a property from DHA: the property will be sold by DHA subject to a lease back agreement.

What are the DHA requirements?

If you are buying property off DHA you will be required to provide evidence of your ability to finance the purchase. This may include a home loan pre-approval letter or proof of your cash, assets or superannuation assets.

It is also recommended that you speak to a consultant at Defence Housing Australia who can help you select a property that will meet your investment goals and you can reasonably afford.

Please note that DHA does not allow inspections of the property until the holding deposit has been paid.

How long is a DHA lease?

DHA properties are generally subject to long leasing arrangements of 9 or 12 years. Shorter leases of 3 or 6 years can be negotiated with DHA in some circumstances.

In New South Wales, leases over 3 years are to be registered on the title, however this requirement varies from state to state.

Why don't some lenders like DHA properties?

Despite the guaranteed rental income, banks are reluctant to lend to those buying defence force homes.

Lenders like to ensure that the property is in vacant possession when being sold and that all tenanting arrangements have been terminated.

However, because of the long term leasing arrangement, the property can only be sold to investors, not people who wish to live in the home.

There are also many restrictions on the way the property can be advertised for sale, which means the property may take longer to sell.

This reduces the property’s marketability, making it harder to get finance for a DHA property.

Is it risky to buy a property with a long term lease?

Being locked into a leasing arrangement can be great for investors looking for rental income security.

However, it may also discourage those who want more flexibility in dealing with their property.

Generally, it is safer to buy a property that has a lease agreement in place.

Your rental income will be secure for an extended period of time and your investment will be protected from fluctuations in the market.

This means that you get more capital growth on your property.

However, if your circumstances or financial goals change or you move away, a long term lease may not be ideal.

You may be limited in how you can deal with the property and re-selling it can be difficult.

Do you have to sell through DHA?

If you wish to sell the property during the term of the lease, you can do so through a real estate agent, however it must be sold subject to the lease.

Defence Housing Australia requires that you provide them with written notice of your intention to sell.

There are also various restrictions on the way the property can be advertised and inspected, so it is best to contact Defence Housing Australia if you are thinking of selling your DHA property.

Benefits of DHA properties

Owning a conventional investment property can present many challenges.

You have to ensure that the property is occupied with tenants who pay their rent on time and keep the house in good condition.

With a DHA property, most of these obligations are removed.

You will have a government backed rental guarantee by the Department of Defence, regardless of whether there are tenants in occupation.

The property will be maintained and all repairs conducted as necessary. This gives you peace of mind that your investment property is being looked after.

A few other advantages include:

  • Restoration provisions in the lease: the property will be restored to its original condition at the end of the lease and all fixtures will be removed.
  • DHA property care services: including extensive property inspections, emergency repair services and general maintenance.
  • Long lease terms: 3, 6, 9 or 12 years with further options to renew.
  • The property is managed by experts: every DHA property is managed by a person who has experience in property management.
  • Guaranteed rent: rent is paid monthly, in advance. Having reliable rental income allows you to budget better.
  • Annual rent review: rent is reviewed on a yearly basis by independent valuers.
  • Flexibility with leasing arrangements: the lease can be extended for up to 36 months or reduced by up to 12 months, upon negotiation.

How much will I pay in management fees?

Property management fees for Defence Housing Australia homes are currently set at a rate of 16.5% of the annual rent (including G.S.T) for houses, and 12 – 14% for townhouses and units.

The fees set by DHA are much higher than those charged by standard real estate agencies, which are generally around 5 – 7.5%.

The higher rate is largely a result of the standard of property management, the guaranteed rental return (even if there are no tenants in occupation) and the frequency of maintenance and repairs.

Apply for a home loan!

The first step towards purchasing a DHA investment property is getting finance.

Find out how we can help you get mortgage approval with a lender that offers great rates and an attractive loan package.

Speak to us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online and one of our mortgage brokers will contact you to discuss your situation.

  • Aardvark

    Any specific criteria for borrowing at 95% LVR? Although I do believe requirements will get tougher, I want to know if I can meet them.

  • Hi Aardvark,

    To qualify for a 95% home loan, you’re generally required to have a clean credit history, stable employment with a good income, a good asset position relative to your age and income, minimal debts and also a low risk security property. You can find out more here:
    https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/no-deposit-home-loans/95-percent-home-loan/