UK Mortgage For US Citizens Buying Property In London

01-July-2019 16:42
in International
by Jennifer Stevenson

Britain’s Brexit stalemate has been excellent news for overseas investors in the London property market. The weakening of sterling over the past couple of years meant London tumbled down the Economist’s rankings of the worlds’ most expensive cities, and led to some serious bargain-hunting by foreign buyers.

At the very top of the super-prime London market there has been some serious discounting, and sales at the capital’s glossiest addresses doubled in 2018.

"Some of Britain’s wealthiest cities became a goldmine for foreign investors seeking a bargain," says mortgage provider Octane Capital’s chief executive Jonathan Samuels.

At the same time, For Sale boards were disappearing from the suburban streets of the nation’s capital, as prices dipped.

But work has continued on riverside developments on both banks of the Thames, offering iconic views and access to embankment walkways - meaning it’s still possible to buy a very desirable water frontage apartment for less than £1M.

London 14 percent cheaper than New York

Sterling’s partial recovery more recently has meant London regained eight places to a joint 22nd spot in 2019’s world’s-most-expensive-city rankings, but still well behind New York at number seven and  LA at number 10.

London is still 14% cheaper than New York overall, and remains a very liveable city. In New York, you're "less likely to get any outside space for your money," according to SpareRoom. Only 31% of New York renters have outdoor space, compared to 70% in London.

London mortgage for San Francisco resident

UK lenders willing to comply with US tax requirements

There’s no doubt that the requirements of the US tax-hunting law FATCA (the 2010 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) are reasonably arduous. But a well-connected broker can find you a specialist lender who is willing to meet all the disclosure requirements and offer mortgages to US nationals buying property in London.

Getting support from a buyer's agent

Americans are often surprised to discover that it’s not common practice to engage a buyer’s agent to act for you in the UK, setting up appointments to view, negotiating on your behalf with the seller’s realtor, and usually having the jump on newest properties onto the market.

It’s a service that really only got going in the UK just over a decade ago, but there are now experienced buyers’ agents available – many of them with a background in US realty.

Expert help to find finance

There is well-qualified and regulated professional support available to help you find finance for a UK property purchase. And most US buyers find this  an essential service.  

High-street British banks have largely stepped back from selling mortgages to property buyers with "U.S. person-status", as federal law describesl American citizens whose overseas holdings they want to keep track of.

A handful of private banks and lenders are prepared to take on the additional administrative and regulatory work that’s required.

An experienced broker will identify the lenders who are ready to work with your particular criteria. And a good tax adviser will help you minimise the tax burden of property ownership in two countries.

Contact us at Clifton Private Finance to arrange a convenient time to discuss the funding you need:

+44 203 900 4322

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