More than 430,000 Australian homeowners have been approved for a repayment holiday, according to data released by the Australian Banking Association in May.

That is roughly 9%-10% of Australian borrowers who have deferred their mortgage payments, with many more requests still being processed.

So, what happens if you want to refinance your home loan after a repayment holiday?

Can I refinance my home loan after the repayment holiday?

Australia has successfully flattened the curve for new coronavirus (COVI-19) cases, and the government has revised its unemployment rate predictions down from 15% to around 9%.

Many customers will get jobs again late this year and will want to refinance to clean up debts / get back on their feet. Lenders haven’t yet confirmed their policy, but generally, we expect:

  • Major lenders will want at least 3 to 6 months of perfect repayments on your home loan to consider your application. Some lenders only want a 3-month history, but this is just a few, and likely they will change this policy to avoid getting inundated.
  • Specialist lenders will consider your home loan refinance application at a higher rate as long as you’re able to make repayments now (if still not making repayments then not okay).

The key to approval will be applying with the right lender based on your individual circumstances.

The current interest rates are the lowest they’ve ever been, and with so many lenders offering refinance cashbacks, it is worth considering refinancing your home loan.

Instead of waiting for the repayment holiday to end, carefully go over your options now, so you’re better prepared to take action when it does eventually end.

To go over your options, please talk to one of our specialist mortgage brokers, by giving us a call on 1300 889 743 or by filling in our online assessment form.

Current lender policies on home loans after a repayment holiday

Lenders haven’t announced their policy on refinancing a home loan after the repayment holiday caused by COVID-19, so no one knows what to do as yet.

However, based on the current policy:

  • Lenders are unable to refinance your loan if you’re on a repayment holiday at the moment.
  • You can terminate your repayment holiday with your current lender anytime.
  • Lenders may be able to consider refinancing if you can show a good repayment history post repayment holiday. (how long is a bit of unknown as of now).
  • If you have had missed payments prior to the repayment holiday, lenders may consider this is an adverse feature, and likely your credit report may have been compromised.

How do I get approved for a home loan after the repayment holiday?

The number one tip to getting approved after the repayment holiday is to not to miss any repayments, especially if you want to refinance at a competitive rate.

Staying on top of your home loan repayments is absolutely critical!

After that, in a broader sense, in light of the economic impact of the pandemic, it’s about mitigating risks for the lender. When they see a risk, you need to calm them down.

  • Apply with the right lender. Mortgage brokers can help because they know what’s happening with each lender. Most lenders aren’t making exceptions to their lending policy, so apply with a lender that you fit with rather than trying to put a square peg through a round hole.
  • Submit good notes. Especially around your income. Is your income safe? How would they know? Submit detailed notes with your application.
  • Submit additional documents. Prove that you are a good borrower. If they ask to see your last 6 months repayment history, then provide 2 years. That’s assuming you have a good history! Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by giving more info if it makes you look bad.
  • Submit a letter from your employer confirming that they have no intention to reduce your hours helps a lot.

Being prepared and applying with the right lender will be key!

We expect a rush of people scrambling to go over their options when the repayment holiday comes to an end, so don’t wait too long.

What are my options after the repayment holiday ends?

When around 400,000 plus home loans come out of the repayment holiday around August and October, the first challenge facing homeowners will be staying on top of their home loan repayments.

Your options include:

Will banks extend the repayment holiday?

No one can be sure as of yet!

However, we suspect that once they come to an end, if a customer wants to extend their repayment holiday, the banks may extend them. The reasons for this is that if they don’t:

  • There will be a flood of properties in the market that will have an immediate negative impact on the property market.
  • It is in both the banks’ and the customers’ interest to avoid home loans going into default.
  • Banks also don’t want bad media coverage. As they allowed the deferrals to happen and now if they were to move to repossess that many houses, there’ll be a media uproar. Besides, politically, logistically, and financially they just couldn’t repossess that many houses.

They’ll release more information once we approach the end of the repayment holidays.

What documents will I require to refinance after a repayment holiday?

Aside from the usual home loan documents required when refinancing, such as identification, bank statements and payslips/tax returns, banks may also require you to explain why you were on a repayment holiday.

For example, if you were put on reduced hours due to COVID-19, and have since been put back on full-time employment, they would require evidence of this increased income and/or an employment letter.

Can other banks see that I was on a repayment holiday?

Yes, when refinancing, lenders ask for your home loan statements to verify regular payments. So, they’ll be able to see that you were on a repayment holiday.

What happens to my repayments when my repayment holiday ends?

With most lenders, to catch up on the repayments, you paused, your repayments will be adjusted at the end of your repayment holiday. Your repayments could increase because you’ll be paying off a higher balance in the same period of time.

You can use our repayment holiday calculator to calculate your repayments after the pause.

Though, with a few lenders, if you’re making principal and interest repayments, you may also have the option to extend your loan term by six months. This means you’ll have more time to pay off your loan, but the new repayment amount could still be higher than the current amount because interest is being charged on the loan for a longer period.

Should I end my repayment holiday early?

Fortunately, the economic impact of COVID-19 won’t be as bad as first predicted! So, if your income has not been impacted by the crisis, then it may be better to end your repayment holiday early as this will save you more on interest over the life of the loan.

A few hundred CBA customers have chosen to end their repayment holidays earlier, and the bank is actively encouraging other customers not financially affected to end it sooner as well.

So carefully consider your financial situation before making that decision.

Are banks still lending?

The banks are still lending but are more conservative than before.

The first risk for the banks is income types, i.e. casual, contract, overtime, commission and bonus income is restricted by some lenders. Many lenders haven’t changed their policy with this, surprisingly.

The second risk they see is that property prices may fall. So some are reducing the LVR (loan to value ratio), being the percentage of the property value that they will lend. Overall there’s still plenty of options.

So overall mortgages are still available; it’s just navigating a new environment.

The key to approval will be applying with the right lender as lender policies are expected to differ significantly.

Are you looking to refinance your home loan after a repayment holiday?

We expect a rush of people scrambling to go over their options when the repayment holiday comes to an end, don’t wait.

Please talk to one of our specialist mortgage brokers to go over your options, by giving us a call on 1300 889 743 or by filling in our online assessment form.