Mortgages For Expatriates And Foreign Nationals Buying In The UK
If you are a British expatriate working overseas, or a foreign national working in the UK, you may want to buy a property in the UK – as a home or an investment.
You may also be struggling to find a lender who understands your needs and caters for people in your situation, at a reasonable price.
Who Does This Apply To?
This section of the website is aimed at three groups of people who don’t fit the criteria for regular mortgages:
- UK expatriates working overseas and looking to buy a property in the UK – you need an expatriate mortgage
- UK expatriates working overseas and looking to buy a property overseas – you need either an expatriate or an overseas mortgage
- Foreign nationals living in the UK and wanting to buy a property in the UK – you need to find a lender who will give you a standard UK mortgage
UK Expatriates Buying In The UK
For many expatriate Britons, buying a home in the UK is a very attractive idea – either as an eventual home to come back to, or as an investment.
You may be concerned that by the time you come back to the UK, you won’t be able to afford the kind of house you want anymore, or you may want to buy a property as part of a retirement plan or for holidays.
Whatever your situation, buying a property in the UK when you are living overseas may seem difficult at first. Most high street lenders aren’t able to help, and finding a suitable broker without help can be difficult too.
We’ve put together this information to help you get started with buying a property in the UK – without the hassle of working it all out for yourself.
Home or Buy To Let?
The first thing to decide if you are thinking about buying a property in the UK is what it will be for.
Will it be an eventual home for you and your family, perhaps to be used during holidays and then as a place to live?
This distinction is very important because it affects your choice of mortgages. If you are going to spend any time at all living or staying in the property, you need a residential mortgage..
If not, then you effectively just need a business loan – and have a wider choice of products to choose from.
Residential Mortgages for UK Expatriates
Most expatriates are considered fairly good risks by lenders – this is important because it balances out the increased risk of you being resident in another country and therefore much harder to collect debts from.
The result is that you should be able to get a mortgage on a UK property on much the same terms as a UK resident with a good credit rating (assuming you have a good credit rating).
Some conditions apply:
As long as you can demonstrate you have a permanent job, meet the income criteria for the loan and can provide a suitable deposit you should have no problems, and should have a fairly typical choice of mortgage types:
- Fixed rate or tracker
- Terms from 5 – 25 years
- Overpayment and underpayment options
Buy To Let Mortgages For UK Expatriates
UK “Buy To Let” mortgages are not regulated in the same way as residential mortgages are, and this means that as an expatriate, you have a wider range of choices than with residential mortgages.
As with residential mortgages, though, you should not have a problem finding a suitable expatriate mortgage policy with the help of an independent mortgage adviser, who will have access to the complete range of lenders who offer products suitable for your situation.
Onshore or Offshore?
One additional choice if you are buying to let is whether to have your mortgage onshore or offshore. There are a number of potential tax benefits to each solution, and what is appropriate really depends on your circumstances.
A specialist mortgage broker will be able to explain the different options to you and search the marketplace for the most appropriate deals for your individual situation.
Are There Any Complications?
There are one or two possible complications, but they are entirely for your benefit, and centre around protecting yourself from exchange rate fluctuations.
If you get paid in UK pounds, then you should have your expatriate mortgage in UK pounds too. However, if you are paid in another currency, some lenders will allow you to take your mortgage in that currency too, or to fix your exchange rate for a period of time ahead.
The advantage of both these facilities is that it protects you from day-to-day changes to foreign exchange rates – which can be quite significant and can lead to your monthly payment changing every month – without warning…
Where Can I Get A UK Mortgage While I Am Expatriated?
As you will probably have found by now, many UK mortgage lenders are simply not geared up to provide expatriate mortgages – even in UK pounds.
There are a number of lenders who specialise in expatriate mortgages and provide very high quality and comprehensive services. They each tend to offer slightly different deals, however, and so it is hard to recommend any individual lender over the others.
The best approach to finding a suitable lender for an expatriate mortgage is to approach an independent UK mortgage broker and ask them about expatriate mortgages. This will ensure you have access to a full range of products, including those which are not offered directly to customers, only through brokers.
Read on about Expat Mortgages
UK expatriates working overseas and looking to buy a property overseas – you need either an expatriate or an overseas mortgage
Foreign nationals living in the UK and wanting to buy a property in the UK – you need to find a lender who will give you a standard UK mortgage