Home Ownership

Buying your own home is likely to be one of the biggest purchases of your life.  The TSRA Economic Development Programme offers home loans at concessional interest rates to eligible Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people living in the Torres Strait region.  Owning your own home can:

  • Create a secure and stable environment to raise and nurture your family
  • Avoid the uncertainties of renting
  • Create a source of financial security and independence for current and future generations

The TSRA has an arrangement with Indigenous Business Australia for home loans for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people living in the Torres Strait region.

Under the arrangement the TSRA provides funds to IBA for IBA to write the home loans.

These home loans are between IBA and the customer and are subject to the IBA home loan Terms and Conditions.  The Terms and Conditions are outlined below.

IBA Housing Loans

IBA offers housing loan products to enable eligible customers to buy:

  • an established residential property
  • an established residential property and upgrade
  • land and construct a new home

Additional assistance is available to customers living in remote areas or who are relocating from remote areas. You should check if you qualify for a housing loan from another lender (for example, a bank or credit union). If you do not qualify for a loan from another lender or are unable to borrow all the funds required to purchase a suitable home, you may be eligible for assistance from IBA. Generally, IBA only provides housing loans to customers with a combined total gross income up to $187,500 (effective as at 1 July 2016 and subject to change at any time). An IBA Home Lending Officer can talk to you about the assistance available from IBA and advise what information you will need to provide.

Loan amount

IBA staff can help you make an informed choice that suits your individual circumstances. The amount that IBA lends to you will depend on a number of factors such as your income and savings, your capacity to meet loan repayments and other housing costs over the term of the loan, the value of the property you are buying, the interest rate and the loan term. In assessing each of these factors, IBA will take into account your:

  • employment income
  • other income you earn
  • rental history
  • housing and living expenses
  • current credit cards and loans (e.g. personal loans)
  • credit history
  • savings history
  • eligibility for the First Home Owner Grant scheme.

IBA will assess these factors at the time you lodge your housing loan application (after IBA has invited you to do so) and will then inform you of the amount you may be eligible to borrow. Even if you qualify for an IBA housing loan, you may need to obtain part of the funds to purchase the home from another lender. If this is the case, IBA will advise you how much you will need to borrow from another lender. You might like to use our Housing Loan Calculator to estimate how much you can borrow.


IBA has lower deposit requirements than commercial home lenders. The minimum amount of deposit you will need to contribute will depend on your income. The minimum deposit amount for most first home buyers will only be $3,000, depending on your income. Different deposit requirements apply to first home buyers on higher incomes and to existing or previous home owners. IBA requires you to contribute the maximum amount you have available as your deposit. Assistance provided through the First Home Owner Grant Scheme can be used to meet the deposit requirements. Read more about IBA Housing Loan Deposits.

Interest rates

IBA offers housing loans at a range of interest rates, depending on your individual circumstances and loan requirements. The IBA Home Loan Rate is comparable to the standard variable mortgage rates of other lenders. First home buyers may be eligible for a standard introductory interest rate which has a low commencing interest rate, capped for a minimum introductory period. Customers who obtain part of their funds from another lender may receive an extended introductory interest rate which is capped for a minimum period of 36 months. Introductory interest rates do not apply if the Indigenous applicant has previously or currently owns a home. Applicants on fixed incomes, such as a pension, who qualify for an introductory interest rate, may be assessed based on their capacity to repay a higher interest rate to ensure that they can meet housing loan repayments over the term of the loan. IBA will automatically adjust the interest rate on your loan in accordance with your loan agreement. For example, your interest rate may change when there is a change to the IBA Home Loan Rate or other rate applicable to your loan. Read more about IBA Housing Loan Interest Rates.

Loan term and repayments

IBA loan terms are based on your capacity to make housing loan repayments. Generally, loan terms are designed so that you contribute the maximum you can afford towards your loan repayments. Your loan repayments will depend on how much you have borrowed, the interest rate applicable and the term of your loan. If you qualify for an introductory rate, your loan repayments will increase in line with increases in the interest rate after the introductory period. For an IBA loan of $347,000 offered at an introductory interest rate of 4% over a term of 32 years, the monthly repayments would start at $1,597. The total amount of repayments made over the 32-year loan term would be $699,894, with interest charged of $352,894. Your loan repayments will be affected by changes in the interest rate and any charges made to your loan. IBA’s Housing Loan Calculator will show you the different repayments for different loan amounts and commencing interest rates.

Additional costs

You will be required to pay for other costs in addition to the purchase price of your home. These may include your property valuation report, building and pest inspections, conveyancing costs, state/territory-levied duties (e.g. stamp duty) and mortgage registration fees. If you are a first home buyer and don’t have sufficient personal savings or access to First Home Owner Grant funds, an additional IBA loan may be available to finance these costs. Your IBA Home Lending Officer can discuss these costs and any assistance available. Read more about IBA’s Housing Loan Fees.

For further information

We invite you to read more about:

If you are interested in applying for a home loan please contact the TSRA Economic Development Programme on 07 4069 0700 or economic@tsra.gov.au.

Useful Tools:

What do you spend money on each month? The Australian Securities and Investments Commission provide a useful Budget PlannerThis link will navigate you away from this website which identifies everyday costs including rent, groceries, transport, insurance, medicines, haircuts and takeaways etc.

Indigenous Business Australia also provides an online loan planner that may assist you to calculate your borrowing capacity.

When you apply for a loan your personal credit history will be assessed. If you wish to know what information about you is held by the credit reference agency, you are entitled to obtain a copy which can be requested by visiting Veda Advantage.