Back to top
Specialist

UK Mortgages For Expats

 

For Buying & Refinancing Property In The UK

  

A Full Guide To Expat Mortgages (UK)

Whether you're looking for a UK expat buy to let mortgage while you're currently living and working overseas, or are in need of a mortgage as an expat returning to the UK, you'll be wondering how to secure the best mortgage deals available.

It's true that the process of applying for a mortgage in the UK as an expat can be tricky, but with the help of this guide, you'll be well prepared and soon be on your way to finding the UK property finance you need.

Contents

1. What is a UK expat mortgage?

A UK expat mortgage is a specialist type of mortgage designed for British expats living abroad who are looking to buy property in the UK. You're classed as an expat if you are a UK national, currently residing overseas. 

If this is you, you'll need to approach a mortgage lender that specialises in mortgages for UK expats. But accessing these lenders directly is not easy. 

As one of the best expat mortgage brokers in the UK, we can help source mortgage finance for British expats on residential and investment transactions in the UK. Our dedicated team of expat mortgage brokers have access to a wide range of expat mortgage products that you won't find on the high street, and we can confidently work around your foreign income, complex income structure, and employment status overseas.

applying for an expat mortgage uk, what you need to know. Clifton Private Finance, specialist UK expat mortgage brokers

2. How can I get a UK expat mortgage?

Many people tend to use a mortgage broker when they’re applying for an expat mortgage because the process can be complicated, and the best deals are found with specialist lenders that you won't be able to approach directly.

Most high street lenders simply aren't prepared to take on the extra administration required in verifying an expat mortgage application. It's harder for them to check your employment status credit history, and financial stability. And if you’re earning in a foreign currency they'll often just say no.

However, a specialist expat mortgage broker will have direct access to UK lenders who won't be put off by your expat status. 

An expat mortgage broker will be able to advise you:

  • Whether you’ll be accepted by a lender for an expat mortgage on UK property
  • The best expat mortgage rates and fees available to you
  • How long the process will take
  • What supporting documents you'll need to provide to meet lending criteria

All of these factors vary from case to case depending on your circumstances and what you’re looking to achieve, but speaking to a mortgage adviser is the quickest way to get all of your finance options laid out for you.

For more detailed tips on securing a UK mortgage as a British citizen living abroad, read our guide here. 

 UK expat mortgage case study, Clifton Private Finance

3. How much can I borrow on a UK expat mortgage?

As with any mortgage loan, how much you can borrow comes down to affordability. An expat lender will look at how much you earn versus your outgoings. Your credit history will also affect your borrowing power (more on that below) as well as the amount of deposit you can afford to put down.

Most UK lenders will offer between 3.5 and 6 times your total annual income. It just depends on how they calculate your net income and apply their affordability criteria. Your employment history, outstanding debts and your number of dependents are all factors they might also take into consideration.  

If you're looking for a high Loan To Value (LTV) expat mortgage, borrowing at 85% of the purchase price of a property is pretty much the ceiling that can be achieved for most expatriate clients.  

However, it always comes down to your personal circumstances, and each lender differs in the amounts they are prepared to lend and what they will include as your income.

A specialist mortgage advisor has in depth knowledge of lenders' criteria, and with an understanding of your situation, will be able to give you a true estimate of how much you could borrow.

Get an idea of how much you could borrow today by using our expat mortgage calculator.


Enter your figures

Your repayments

Based on the figures entered, we think your mortgage will cost:

Repayment: (Capital & Interest)

Interest Only:

This information is computer-generated. It has only been designed to give a useful general indication of costs. Make sure that you read the separate key facts lender illustration before you make a decision. To get a full mortgage quote contact us.


4. What is the UK mortgage deposit requirement for an expat?

For both a residential or a buy to let mortgage in the UK, most lenders will require a 25% deposit.  

It is possible, however, if your circumstances are right, to find expat lenders who will accept a 10-20% deposit. If you can't afford to put down as much as 25%, you'll need to seek the advice and guidance of an experienced mortgage broker who has access to specialist lenders you won't find on the high street.

It goes without saying that the most attractive mortgage rates and terms go hand in hand with a larger deposit.

5. Do I need a good UK credit history to get an expat mortgage?

If you've been living abroad for some time and have not been able to maintain your UK credit profile, this doesn't mean you'll be excluded from borrowing. Many specialist lenders are willing and able to check your borrowing status by other means. 

For more tips on how to preserve your credit score as a UK expat, read our full guide here

Expat mortgages UK, specialist expat broker with access to specialist expat  lenders

6. What are the Expat UK Mortgage Application Criteria?

Firstly, your country of residence will affect the application criteria, and unfortunately, there are some high risk countries that no lenders are able to accept.

However, if you’re in the US, Singapore or Dubai then your chances of getting a mortgage are high – we have lots of applicants from these countries, and lenders are generally well set up to process applications.

However, certain African and European countries can be trickier, as well as Australia, and lenders often have stricter application criteria.

Speak to one of our team for personal advice on your expat mortgage application 

Book Consultation

  specialist expat mortgage brokers in the UK, Clifton Private Finance

7. What documents do I need for a UK expat mortgage?

The more complex your mortgage application, the more documents you’ll need to supply to support your income, deposit, nationality and identity.

Here are the essential documents that you almost always need for an expatriate mortgage application:

Proof of Income

  • Your CV (particularly if you work in a high-turnover industry)
  • Copies of recent payslips
  • Evidence of any bonus or commission earnings
  • Business accounts and tax returns for 2 + years if you are self employed – these may need to be certified by an internationally recognised accountancy firm

Proof of Affordability

  • Details of your overseas income and expenditure
  • Information on any properties you already own (including mortgage and rental details)
  • Credit Card statements and balances
  • Details of any other financial arrangements and commitments you have in place (e.g., loans, car payments, etc.) 

UK expat mortgage application check list, Clifton Private Finance

8. Expat mortgage lender or broker?

A common question that many expats have when they’re starting to look into UK property finance is: should I speak to an expat lender or an expat broker.

Although you’ll ultimately need to speak to an expat lender for your application, finding them and deciding which lender is right for you is incredibly difficult by yourself.

The major stumbling block for most expats is that you aren't able to find expat mortgage products on comparison sites. They are too niche to be broadly compared in the way that standard mortgages are based on interest rates, terms and fees.

To compare expat finance effectively by yourself, you’d need to approach each lender individually and go into detail about your circumstances and objectives each time – it would be a slow, arduous, and largely ineffective process in comparison to using a broker.

At Clifton Private Finance, our Expat Mortgage Brokers are securing loans for expats on a day to day basis. They know the best rates going on the market at any point, and know the specialities of every lender – from complex applications to quick turnarounds, and everything in between.

Read our full guide on choosing an expat mortgage lender or broker for more information.

Expat Mortgage Advice

9. Mortgages for Expats returning to the UK

If you’re an expat returning to the UK looking for a residential mortgage on a new family home, you’ll find it difficult to get finance from a standard UK mortgage lender.

And it becomes especially difficult if you’re still earning in a foreign currency while you apply, or if you’re in between jobs during your relocation.

However, there are lenders out there who specialise in working with expats moving back to the UK.

For example, if you have employment lined up for your return but it hasn’t started yet, we can still secure you a mortgage based on your projected contracted income if we can get the right documents and connect you with the right lender.

And the same goes for overseas income or complex earning streams. Although you may have been turned down by your current bank or mortgage provider, an expatriate mortgage broker can connect you to lenders with specialist underwriters that are suited to your application.

Whether it’s a specific currency or an unusual industry that you work in that’s causing roadblocks, a good mortgage adviser has the knowledge, experience and connections to secure you the finance that you know you can afford.

Get more advice on getting a mortgage in the UK after living abroad here

  UK mortgage for expat living in Dubai, Case Study, Clifton Private Finance

10. UK Expat Remortgages

Refinancing as an expat can be time consuming and tricky, but the rewards of securing a great deal on a new mortgage can significantly outweigh the cost and effort.

We speak to clients on a daily basis who are looking to remortgage for one of the following reasons:

  • Transferring a UK residential mortgage to a buy to let
  • Remortgaging at a lower Loan to Value (LTV) to get better interest rates and lower repayments
  • Remortgaging following a pay rise – a better loan to income (LTI) ratio will get you a better deal on a new expat mortgage
  • Refinancing to free up capital – perhaps to put towards a new buy to let in the UK

Check out our guide on how to remortgage in the UK if you live abroad, where we cover:

  • The pros and cons of remortgaging a UK property when you’re an expat
  • How easy it is to remortgage as an expat
  • The checklist for your remortgage application
  • And how to get the process started 

 11. UK Expat Buy to Let Mortgages

Many of our expat clients are looking to purchase property in the UK on a buy to let mortgage as an investment that can double up as a base for back home.

As an expat, you probably know the UK property market better than the country in which you live.

And with the potential of both rental income and growth in value of UK buy to let properties, they present an excellent investment opportunity – and that’s before you factor in the value of having a base back in the UK for future use.

But as with residential expat mortgages, most standard mortgage lenders do not accept non UK residents for buy to let applications.

Expat BTL mortgages are more complicated and expensive for banks to process, but you can still access a good range of options through specialist lenders, with a deposit requirement of up to 20%. 

An interest-only repayment option on an expat BTL mortgage is less favoured by lenders, but if you have good credit history and can put down a larger deposit, a specialist mortgage broker will be able to find you a deal.

Read our full guide on how to get an Expat BTL mortgage, here.

Or if you need to act now give us a call to arrange a free telephone consultation with one of our specialist ex-pat mortgage brokers to get the ball rolling.

 Buy to let UK mortgage for British expats in Singapore ,Clifton Private Finance

12. Top locations for UK expats to buy in the UK

If you’re looking at a buy to let investment property in the UK as an expat, choosing where to buy is often the most difficult decision.

You may want to buy near family or in an area you’re familiar with. Or, perhaps you’re looking purely at value growth and rental potential – particularly if it’s a second UK property.

Check out our latest guide for expats buying UK property, that looks at:

  • What the 2022 buy to let market looks like in the UK
  • What you should look for in an expat BTL property
  • And what are the best locations in the UK for expats buy to let purchases 

13. UK mortgages for expats earning foreign income

Securing a mortgage with earnings in a foreign currency can be notoriously difficult.

Even widely used currencies like US dollars or Euros can be a red flag on your mortgage application for most high street lenders.

Foreign currency income streams are an issue for banks for the following reasons:

  • Exchange rate fluctuations could affect your ability to repay your mortgage, and it’s completely out of your and your lender’s control
  • Your lender could struggle to identify your employer and validate your income stream
  • There is a greater risk of money laundering if your income is coming through overseas sources
  • If you've lived abroad for a while, you could have a poor or untraceable credit rating

All of these factors increase the risk to your bank for lending you money, and make the process more costly from an administrative point of view.

But there are specialist lenders – and even some high street lenders – that can accept foreign income for a mortgage in the right circumstances. You need to package your application correctly, have the right documents on hand, and ideally have a mortgage broker on your side pushing through your application.

For more help, see our how-to guide on how to get a mortgage with a foreign income.

 UK mortgage for British Seafarer, Clifton Private Finance

14. Applying for a joint UK mortgage with a non-UK national partner or spouse

If your partner is not a UK national, it can be difficult to get a mortgage via a mainstream lender – they're likely to simply reject your application based on the complexity that your scenario presents.

But if you speak to chosen lenders, via the right specialist mortgage broker, you can still get finance at the right price.

If you’re a European citizen living in the UK, we should be able to secure you a UK mortgage if:

  • You have been resident in the EU for more than 3 years
  • You have a UK bank account
  • You have a permanent job in the UK

If you’re from outside of Europe and living in the UK, we should be able to secure you a UK mortgage if:

  • You have been resident in the UK for more than 2 years
  • You have a permanent job in the UK
  • You have permanent residence rights in the UK or a UK Work Permit
  • You have a UK bank account

And if you’re a foreign national living outside of the UK buying property here, speaking to a specialist mortgage broker at Clifton Private Finance is advisable to see if there are options out there for you.

For more information, read our full guides on spouse visas and how to get a joint mortgage with a non-uk national partner or spouse.

15. UK Mortgage for Seafarer

Applying for a mortgage as a seafarer or ship crew can be a tedious and excruciating process.

Trying to work out whether you’re classed as a UK resident, an expat, or something in between can be more nauseating than a bad case of seasickness.

And there’s a big difference between expat mortgages and standard UK resident mortgages – expat cases are more expensive in terms of set-up fees and interest rates.

So, it’s important to get it right, and there are steps you can take to make sure you’re classed as a UK resident if it’s possible. Our complete guide to seafarers UK mortgages covers everything you need to know before applying.

 Complex mortgage solutions, UK expat Mortgages

16. Countries where we can help UK Expats

How difficult your mortgage application will be depends on what country you are living in. 

Some UK lenders process plenty of expatriate mortgages from countries such as the US and United Arab Emirates (UAE), so they are equipped to deal with these applications.

But other countries are less commonly seen by lenders, and it means they don't have the infrastructure in place to deal with applications.

They'll have fewer specialists in place, meaning they'll be less familiar with tax legislation, employment laws and other cultural differences for your country of residence, adding a greater administrative burden and financial risk to lending you money.

Find your country of residence and start the ball rolling here

Below is a list of some popular expat locations that we frequently source mortgages for, a rating out of for difficulty, and a link to our guide on how to secure a mortgage as an expat from each location.

Locations are rated from 1-10 based on how many finance options will be available to you, with 1 being plenty of options, and 10 being very few options.

And here are some other expat locations that are less common and more difficult to rank, but that we can still help with:

Book Consultation


Expat - UK Residential

2 Year Fixed

2.19% APR

27 months fixed rate

(Purchase)

Subsequent rate 3.79%

APRC 3.6%*

Up to 60% LTV

Product Fee £999

As at 5 April 2022

Expat - UK Residential

5 Year Fixed

2.29% APR

63 Months Fixed Rate

(Purchase)

Subsequent rate 3.79%

APRC 3.3%*

Up to 70% LTV

Product Fee £999

As at 5 April 2022

Expat - UK Residential

2 Year Tracker

1.04% APR

+BOE Base Rate

2 Year Tracker

Subsequent rate 3.79%

APRC 3.5%*

Up to 75% LTV

Product Fee £999

As at 5 April 2022

Contact Us

Thank You for your interest - please complete the form below and a member of our team will be in contact.


Call us on +44 203 900 4322 to discuss your requirements.
Or you can book a telephone consultation at a convenient time for you  
 
Get in Touch

If you have any questions about our services or want to start making things happen please contact us