Getting a UK mortgage as an expat - How easy is it?

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If you choose to settle in another country and you want to re-mortgage or purchase a property in the UK, you’ll be classed as an expat by the bank. It can sometimes be more challenging than expected to get a mortgage on the high street, but with an experienced broker like LIFT-Mortgages you’ll still be able to source the best deal.

Why can this be an issue?

There are only a few lenders on the market who are willing to support mortgages for clients who either work overseas or are expat. This is due to the regulation required for foreign currency debt and the use of fluctuating currency to evidence affordability, meaning the risks for most banks are too high.

The main issues these lenders consider are:

•    the country of residence 
•    the currency the income is paid in. 

The acceptable outcomes can vary from lender to lender and some lenders have a longer list of requirements; but most countries are accepted. If the lender is happy with these two key factors, then the borrowing process will be the same as if you were a UK resident. 

As with any mortgage application there are some considerations as follows:

1)    Affordability - lenders will obviously want to demonstrate what income you are paid and put stress tests in place to show currency fluctuations. They will also want to consider any other committed expenditure you have, including living costs in your current country of residence. 

2)    Identity Verification - as a fully regulated mortgage broker, we’ll need evidence that you are who you say you are. This will mean your proof of ID and address would need to be certified or notarised in your current country and sent through the post to us.

3)    Deposit - you must have a minimum deposit of 25% of the proposed property purchase price. 

Other than that, the mortgage process is the same as if you were a UK resident. The other good news is that you should not be penalised on rates by the lender.

These mortgages are available on both residential and buy-to-let terms. This applies whether you have a property in the UK that you currently rent out, or you are looking to move back and want to buy a family home.  

Here’s an example in practice of a client we have helped…

We have just supported a client looking to purchase a family home in England whilst he continues to live and work in Hong Kong and is paid in Hong Kong Dollars. The client went to his high street bank who wouldn’t help. Due to LIFT-Mortgages’ strong relationship with a wide variety of lenders, we were able to secure him a 2-year fixed rate mortgage at a competitive rate of 1.54%. 

If you have any questions or you would like to know if this is available to you, please get in touch and we can discuss your personal situation.


Simon Morgan – Latest Blog Posts

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