It is estimated that about five million UK nationals live overseas. Many of these expats are keen to hold on to a home in the UK, buy one for their return, or to invest in one to rent out. But the available expat mortgage options can be quite restricted so in most cases, you will find the best deals by using a specialist adviser.

At Specialist Mortgage Online we have access to expert mortgage brokers who work with expats. They can help you to find the most suitable expat mortgage for you and your current situation. To get started, get in touch with us today.

How to get a UK mortgage as an expat

Our specialist advisers can help you to get a UK mortgage as an expat, whether you are returning to the UK or wish to continue to live abroad but with a UK property investment. By using our advisers, expats who are living and working abroad in a whole host of countries and in many occupations can get suitable deals.

When viewed over the long term the UK housing market continues to produce significant house price inflation and therefore a growth in capital asset value. Buying a UK property whilst living abroad can make very good financial sense for those wishing to use it as a future home or for those looking for a historically safe long-term investment opportunity.

Eligible countries of residence

The table below show the countries that our advisers can help with; whether you need mortgages for returning expats, or just want to retain ownership of a property in the UK, our specialists can find you an expat mortgage.

List of Eligible Countries  
CanadaCyprusCzech Republic
Hong KongHungaryIceland
MaltaNetherlandsNew Zealand
RomaniaSingaporeSlovak Republic
SloveniaSouth KoreaSpain
SwedenSwitzerlandUK Dependencies
United States

Mortgages for expats: does the mortgage reason matter?

There are three main reasons why expats generally want to buy a property in the UK whilst living and working abroad.

Firstly, there are those who are planning to return to the UK from living abroad and are therefore looking for somewhere to live when they return home.

Secondly there are those people that are looking to invest in property in a country where they have some history and understanding, and therefore comfort of how the housing market works. These people will already have some knowledge of likely house prices and an idea of how the house buying process works.

The third reason that expats want a mortgage is to purchase in the country whilst living abroad so they can provide a home for a family member who is returning to the UK. This could be an elderly parent who wishes to return home or a spouse or grown-up child who wishes to take employment back in the UK.

Expat mortgages: how easy are they to get?

Mortgages for returning expats are relatively easy to get. Expat mortgages for those who will continue to live abroad are in a similar bracket… provided you have the correct specialist help.

The current availability of expat mortgages is quite restricted when compared to standard mortgage applications available from high street lenders.

This is not to say that high street lenders will not consider mortgages for expats. Some do accept mortgage applications. However, there are also many specialist lenders who are experts in the field of expat deals so can offer flexible lending options.

Most expats wanting to get a mortgage will not be aware of these lenders as they are not household names. This is where the knowledge of a specialist mortgage broker can prove so valuable.

Approval for these types of mortgages will depend on borrower circumstances, country of residence, and loan requirements. Each lender will have their own individual requirements and criteria so an expert will be able to help you navigate your way through to a successful conclusion.

How do expat mortgages work?

Our specialists can guide you closely on what documentation you will need to produce and what details need to be provided by your employer. These are key components in any expat mortgage application and therefore it is essential that they are done accurately and in a timely manner.

As with all mortgage applications lenders will take certain factors into consideration and our advisers will guide you on which lenders criteria best suits your own individual circumstances.

How much can I borrow on an expat mortgage?

Mortgage regulations have been tightened in recent years, meaning lenders will only let you borrow what they believe you can afford. This will be based on how much you earn, your outgoings, and how much of a deposit you can afford to put up.

Many lenders will let you borrow as much as 4 and half times you annual income as a single applicant, and three and a half times with a combined application. How much you can borrow on an expat mortgage could be up to 80% of the property price, meaning your deposit will need to be at least 20% of the property value.

With buy to let mortgage it’s a little different, with some lenders letting you borrow as much as 75% of the property’s value – you can read more here.

How long does it take to get an expat mortgage?

Our specialists work to get mortgage applications completed and approved as quickly as possible. Expat mortgages can sometimes take a little longer, but many times, this will be due to the potential time differences depending on where you live, or the ability to track down and complete paperwork.

The process will often depend on how quickly you can respond to the questions and paperwork you are given.

Questions you will need to answer

Some of the questions that will be asked are as follows and the answers will affect which lenders will consider your expat mortgage application.

  • Do you hold a UK bank account?
  • Do you own any property in the UK?
  • Have you ever owned property in the UK?
  • Is your income supported by bonuses?
  • What is the length of your current employment contract?
  • Have you had any credit problems?
  • Do you intend to live in the property or rent it to a tenant?

There is not a correct answer to all of these questions, but the answers will determine which lenders are most likely to approve your application and may also have a bearing on what rate you will be charged.

It is important therefore that you are guided by a specialist expert. You can book your no obligation discussion today.

Expat buy to let mortgages

If you are interested in an expat mortgage to purchase a buy to let property or wish to look into a remortgage deal to replace an existing buy to let mortgage, and perhaps even release equity, contact us.

There needs to be some careful planning with buy to let expat mortgages, particularly when this is perhaps tied into part of your pension planning.

Our specialists have access to an offshore bank, which has been serving UK expats and foreign nationals across the globe for 25 years and understands the difficulties expatriates face in accessing UK buy to let mortgages.

They have a range of mortgages specifically for expat property investors. They pride themselves on signing off on offshore mortgage decisions quickly and offer a friendly service to all of their expat customers.

They can even provide decisions in principle over the phone or via their online mortgage calculator. When applying we will be dealing directly with one of their helpful and experienced underwriters. This reduces the potential of delays and confusion when, securing your UK expat mortgage quickly and effectively.

These are the reasons, along with their consistently high Feefo ratings, why we believe they offer some of the best UK buy to let mortgages for expats.

What to do next?

The expat mortgage market has seen growth over the past 10 years as more people see the value and relative security of investing in the UK housing market. This has led to more lenders being willing to lend in this market and therefore more choice and competition amongst lenders.

This is of course good news to borrowers. To give yourself the best chance of making a successful application you will need the following as minimum:

  • A stable employment and sufficient income to justify the mortgage.
  • A minimum of 20% deposit.
  • Work in one of the approved countries listed above.

When you speak to one of our advisers these will be amongst the first questions, they ask you.

With regards your employment status, no matter what your work or situation, our specialist can find something for you. Some of the more common occupations that we can deal with are: teaching, accountancy, banking, investment and broking, oil industry, marketing, public relations, sports, and a variety of multi-international corporations.

To talk with us about mortgages for expats returning to the UK, or just as an investment whilst you live abroad, get in touch now for a no-obligation discussion.