It’s fair to say it’s an unusual time to be a first home buyer. But there are still opportunities out there for those whose jobs haven’t been affected by COVID-19. 

Here are five key talking points we’ve been regularly discussing with first home buyers in the current market.

1. Is the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS) still available?

Many first home buyers have been saving their home loan deposit over the last 5-10 years, trying to reach that magic 20% figure where you don’t have to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

But a new path recently opened up for first home buyers: the FHLDS.

Places in the scheme, which started on January 1, are still available and can allow eligible first home buyers to purchase a property with a deposit of just 5% without having to pay LMI.

If you’d like to take advantage of the scheme, give us a call and we can help you through the process.

2. Has it become tougher for first home buyers to get a loan in recent months?

This will depend on your individual situation and how much coronavirus has impacted your household’s bottom line.

Interestingly, though, the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data doesn’t suggest it was any tougher for first home buyers to get a loan in February than the previous few months.

Indeed, over the month, home loans for owner-occupier first-home buyers increased by 0.4%.

That said, COVID-19 didn’t really start impacting the Australian economy until March, so we’ll keep monitoring the data for you in coming months.

3. I heard QBE is no longer insuring borrowers from distressed sectors?

One of Australia’s largest insurance groups, QBE, has temporarily suspended offering LMI to specific groups of new mortgage borrowers, such as those working in hospitality, tourism, gyms and beauty salons.

The good news is that Australia’s other major LMI provider, Genworth, told the AFR it has no plans to change its existing position on LMI, stating that it trusted lenders to “apply responsible lending standards and assess applications on their merits”.

Also, if you’re taking out your first home loan through the FHLDS, remember that the whole point of the scheme is that you don’t have to pay LMI – so that’s another reason to consider applying.

4. Are lenders requiring evidence that my income will be stable?

In the current COVID-19 climate, it’s safe to say that lenders will be scrutinising your income and will require sound evidence that your income will be stable.

This shouldn’t create too big a headache for those employed in essential services, such as a Coles permanent employee, a pharmacist, or an IT professional in a government department, for example.

But others in less coronavirus-proof industries may find it more difficult to prove their income is stable.

For example, some lenders are no longer accepting bonus income for borrowers outside essential services, unless their employer can write a letter to say that the bonus will continue to be paid out at the current level.

Your best bet is to give us a call – we can run through your situation and help you identify any areas that may be an issue in advance.

5. I heard valuations are coming in lower than the contract price?

There’s no shortage of recent stories out there of valuations coming in lower than the contract price, and the gap is proving difficult for some off-the-plan buyers to make up.

So if you’re a first home buyer and you’re worried about a lower valuation then please get in touch. We can run through the options that may be available to you to make up the shortfall, including going through the FHLDS (mentioned above).

Give us a call

Buying your first home can be a bit overwhelming at the best of times, let alone during a period of uncertainty and rapid change. Rest assured though that we’re on top of it.

So if you’d like us to help you explore your options and secure a competitive home loan then please get in touch – we’re ready to jump into action and make it happen for you.