Expat Mortgages

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Find the best expat mortgages

Taking on a mortgage as an expat living in the UK presents some additional challenges. However, these don’t prevent expats from buying a home, remortgaging, or investing in a buy to let UK property.

Why are expat mortgages difficult?

Whether you can get expat mortgages or not essentially comes down to risk assessment. Mortgage providers are always on the lookout for anything that raises the risks of them losing money. A borrower who earns their money abroad, or whose employment details are hard to access, represents a potential risk for the mortgage provider.

Credit ratings are another area where mortgage providers can struggle to find an expat’s information. If an expat credit history is primarily accrued overseas, then the mortgage provider can’t factor it into their risk assessment. Most lenders will err on the side of caution and will be less keen to lend if they can’t check a borrower’s credit history.

Paying expat mortgages with overseas income

One barrier to expat mortgages is the uncertainty created when income is earned in another currency. Exchange rate fluctuations can have an enormous impact on the sterling value of an expat’s income. This will lead mortgage providers to adjust income accordingly and can significantly reduce the buying power of the expat’s money. This is something that expats must account for when seeking to purchase UK real estate.

Does this restrict the type of expat mortgages available?

Expats can still take on all sorts of mortgages, but they typically become more expensive. If a mortgage provider feels that expats represent a greater risk, then they will compensate by adjusting their lending criteria. This might mean that expats will need a higher deposit or will be subject to a higher interest rate.

Expats can still invest in buy to let mortgages, although these will typically require an even higher level of deposit and come with a higher interest rate too. Be aware that recent changes to the buy-to-let market have made it even more difficult to make a profit from renting out property, with expat mortgage lenders under strict instructions from the FCA to require high deposits.

Finding the right expat mortgages

The UK mortgage market is incredibly diverse, and there are specialist lenders for any conceivable application. It can be wise to find a specialist expat mortgage provider. In many cases these will be lenders with overseas links that can verify an expat’s employment status and credit history. This can make it cheaper overall, although smaller, specialized lenders may not be as adaptable as large mortgage providers. You can find these lenders online, or by contacting a specialist mortgage broker.

Buying UK property as an expat from overseas

Real estate in the UK is still one of the best investments you can make. There’s no reason why expats can’t benefit from purchasing UK property. Be sure to speak with a specialist expat mortgage broker before committing to a mortgage product, to ensure it’s right for your situation.

Expat mortgage FAQ's

Can I get a UK mortgage as an expat?

Yes. It is worth speaking to an expat mortgage specialist who will talk through your specific needs. It is more complicated than a traditional mortgage but do not worry there are plenty of options to choose from.

Can I buy a house in UK if I live abroad?

Yes. So long as someone is living in the property then it is fine. This can be a tenant if the property is rented out or a family member.

Can you get a mortgage if you work overseas?

Yes. There are several specialist lenders including high street banks, niche building societies, international banks, private banks and Islamic lenders to choose from.

How much deposit do I need for an expat mortgage?

20%. Expats need a slightly larger deposit on both expat buy to let mortgages and residential expat mortgages than you would expect for a more traditional mortgage.

How long does an expat-mortgage take?

6-12 weeks. Expat mortgages are similar to normal mortgages and take between 6 weeks to 12 weeks to complete. This is where using a specialist broker can really help speed things up.