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Expat Mortgages for property in the UK

An overview of expat mortgages, including how to increase your eligibility for the best expat mortgages in the UK

Last updated 28 June 2019

Expat mortgages are getting tougher to obtain as UK banks continue to tighten the borrowing requirements meaning that specialist assistance is often required to be able to secure an expat mortgage to buy a UK property.

Some banks, including RBS and NatWest announced that they were going to stop offering expat mortgages and as of May 2016 mortgage applicants would need to be a UK resident to be eligible.

If you are looking to purchase a property in the UK, but live abroad, there are a number of key factors which will affect your ability to be eligible to apply for an expat mortgage.

Before choosing a suitable expat mortgage it's advisable to speak to an independent expat mortgage advisor who can understand your personal requirements before searching the whole expat mortgage market. Very often they will have access to products which consumers aren't aware of and therefore can present a wider range of options for you.

As the availability of expat mortgages decreases, this additional expertise could be crucial when it comes to obtaining a mortgage.

Expat mortgages for non-UK residents

If you wish to buy a house in the UK and use it as your primary residence, some lenders will consider advancing up to 95% of the purchase price. Lending criteria and mortgage terms vary tremendously and different lenders will use their own policy to determine a maximum loan figure.

In addition to the offshore lenders, a number of UK based banks and building societies will now consider applications from British expatriates planning to purchase a home in the UK.

Expatriate lenders will use income multiples, affordability and employment status before offering mortgage terms. Some lenders have strict policies and rigid lending criteria whereas others are more flexible and consider individual circumstances before issuing a mortgage offer.

Unfortunately some lenders who initially accept applications from expats decline them later during the underwriting stage when strict lending criteria cannot be fully met.

Key factors which increase your chances of getting an expat mortgage

If you are an expat or non-UK resident, it is possible to successfully apply for a UK mortgage. Below is a brief list of factors which could increase your chances of successfully applying for an expat mortgage:

  • Credit history
    While it is not essential that you have a UK credit history to apply for an expat mortgage, having a strong UK credit history can help when seeking the best rates and mortgage deals.
  • Keep some form of financial association in the UK
    By maintaining some form of financial association in the UK, such as a credit card or a residential address (such as your parents home), you are likely to be able to apply for a wider range of mortgages. However, it is important to understand how this might affect your tax affairs. Before making any decisions about your best course of action, we recommend that you speak to an independent advisor who understands the intricacies of mortgage applications and also tax affairs of expats.

Speak to an independent mortgage advisor

If you are considering buying a property in the UK, or would like to release equity from a property you already own, we can connect you with an independent mortgage advisor to discuss your options and hopefully find you a great UK mortgage.

During your initial consultation the advisor will be able to look at your personal circumstances and be able to discuss your best course of action, and potentially be able to find an expat mortgage which you may be eligible for.

We can also provide an introduction to consultants who have access to mortgages for expats living in a wide range of popular countries with expats, including France, Spain, Italy, Australia and the United States: Request an introduction to a mortgage advisor for international mortgages >

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BBC Breakfast - Expats in Cyprus having issues with UK bank accounts - click to see article
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