home equity access scheme

Ever wondered how to get access to the equity in your home for retirement savings purposes? This could be where the Home Equity Access Scheme comes in handy. This government-aided programme helps owners tap into the worth of their houses even when they do not sell them, hence offering some financial freedom when one retires. This discussion will review the Home Equity Access Scheme, its benefits, eligibility requirements and application procedure.

What is the Home Equity Access Scheme?

The Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS) is a government program that enables eligible Australian homeowners to access a portion of their home equity as a regular payment or lump sum, providing financial support during retirement.

Historical Context

Introduced by the Australian government the HEAS aims to help retired people keep their living standards without selling off their homes. It was first called the Pension Loans Scheme however, it has transformed into a chance to access house value flexibly.

HEAS is designed primarily to provide pensioners with financial security and independence by unlocking the tied-up value in their homes.

How Does the Home Equity Access Scheme Work?

The Home Equity Assistance Scheme (HEAS) enables those who qualify as homeowners to get loans using the value of their houses as collateral. The homeowner can access the money borrowed either regularly after every two weeks or at once or both.

Loan Structure

  • Maximum Loan Amount: This is decided by how much the house costs and the owner's age.
  • Interest Rate: Interest rates backed by the government for competition apply.
  • Repayment Terms: The homeowner passes away or sells the home to repay the loan.

Interest Rates

As of 2024, you have a HEAS at an annual interest rate of 4.5%, compounded fortnightly. This interest rate is not fixed but can be verified from government updates before use.

Repayment Terms

More often than not, repayments are to be made when a homeowner dies or sells the home but it is possible to make repayments to reduce the interest that has accrued voluntarily.

Case Study

Imagine a 70-year-old retiree named Jane who has a house worth $500K; HEAS allows her to get half a loan ($250,000) against it while opting for bimonthly paychecks that would enable her to purchase groceries or pay rent easily.

Benefits of the Home Equity Access Scheme

Financial Flexibility

The HEAS provides retirees with additional income without requiring them to sell their homes, thus maintaining their lifestyle and financial independence.

Maintain Homeownership

Participants can stay in their homes while accessing the equity, allowing them to enjoy the comfort and stability of their familiar environment.

Government Support

The Australian Government supports the scheme, ensuring a secure and reliable financial product.

Eligibility Criteria

Age Requirements

Applicants must be of Age Pension age or older.

Home Ownership

Applicants must own real estate in Australia that can be used as security for the loan.

Other Criteria

  • Residency Status: Must be a permanent resident of Australia.
  • Income Thresholds: No specific income requirements, but the value of the home and other assets may be considered.

Application Process

Step-by-Step Guide


  • Gather Documentation: Proof of home ownership, age, and residency status.
  • Financial Advice: Consider seeking financial advice to understand the implications.


  • Apply Online: Through the Services Australia website or in person at a Centrelink office.
  • Required Forms: Complete and submit the required application forms.

Approval Process

  • Assessment: Your application will be assessed based on eligibility criteria.
  • Notification: You'll be notified of the decision and the amount you can access.

Tips for Applicants

  • Understand the Costs: Be aware of the interest rates and how they will affect the total repayment amount.
  • Seek Advice: Financial advisors can provide valuable insights into how the scheme fits into your retirement plan.

home equity access scheme

Potential Risks and Considerations

Financial Implications

Consider the long-term impact of borrowing against your home equity, including interest accumulation and the total repayment amount.

Impact on Estate

The loan amount must be repaid upon your passing, which could affect the inheritance left to your beneficiaries.

Market Conditions

Property market fluctuations can impact the value of your home and, subsequently, the amount of equity available to access.

Alternatives to the Home Equity Access Scheme

Reverse Mortgages

Similar to the HEAS, it is offered by private lenders with different terms and conditions.


Selling your home and purchasing a smaller, less expensive property can free up equity without taking on debt.

Other Financial Products

Consider options such as home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) or personal loans, depending on your financial needs and situation.

The Home Equity Access Scheme offers a chance for retired persons to draw on their houses’ worth, with financial flexibility and security. Before using this programme, you should consider what it has. Seek advice from financial experts before deciding whether it is good enough for your retirement needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the interest rate for the Home Equity Access Scheme?

The current interest rate is 4.5% per annum, compounding fortnightly. This rate is subject to change, so check for the latest updates.

2. Can I make voluntary repayments?

Yes, you can make voluntary repayments anytime to reduce the accrued interest.

3. How much can I borrow under the HEAS?

The amount you can borrow depends on your age and the value of your home. Typically, it is up to 50% of your home’s value.

4. Will accessing my home equity affect my pension?

Accessing the HEAS may affect your pension payments. It's advisable to consult with Services Australia or a financial advisor.

5. What happens if I sell my home?

The loan amount must be repaid from the sale proceeds if you sell your home.


If you have any questions or need further assistance, please get in touch with us.


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