Last reviewed on 17th October 2023 by Martin Alexander (Mortgage Advisor)
Expat mortgages in the UK are growing in popularity. Now, most lenders have a range of mortgages just for expats, which we’ll explore in this guide.
What is an expat mortgage?
An expat mortgage is for applicants who are UK nationals but live abroad. Even if you’re a non-UK national living abroad but want to buy a property in the UK, you’d need an expat mortgage.
As there’s a growing demand for expats buying property in the UK, lenders have products solely for expats.
Types of expat mortgages
Expat mortgages are available on a repayment and interest-only basis. Lenders typically offer two types of expat mortgages.
You’ll need an expat mortgage on residential property if:
- You currently live abroad but are returning to the UK and need a home to do so
- You’re buying a home for your family that lives in the UK, but you’ll continue to live abroad
Buy to let mortgages
You’ll need an expat mortgage on a buy to let property if:
- You live abroad but want to buy a property to rent out in the UK for investment purposes
- You already own a residential home in the UK but wish to change it to a buy to let mortgage
- You’re moving abroad and want to rent your home out
How to get an expat mortgage
You must gather documents such as your visa, employment details and bank slips. The country you’re currently living in can also affect your application, along with the currency you receive. Some lenders will request you to have a minimum income, whereas others won’t. Income is just one aspect of an application, but failing this is enough to be declined.
Getting a mortgage as an expat can be tricky, as the criteria can be strict compared to mortgages for UK residents. Speak to an advisor in the UK to review your details and find suitable lenders. Most high street lenders don’t tend to lend to expats living abroad.
Eligibility and criteria
As an expat, you’ll need to meet the following criteria for a mortgage:
- Deposit amount – You’ll need at least a 25% deposit. You’ll qualify with more lenders and have a better choice of deals if you can save a higher deposit.
- Income – Some lenders have no income requirements, while others will require you to meet a set minimum salary.
- Currency – The currency you’re paid in can affect the lenders you’re eligible with. Some currencies are more favoured than others. You’ll also have to factor in any foreign exchange rates when applying.
- UK footprint – Most lenders will require you to have a UK bank account and UK credit file to be eligible. Not having any UK correspondence will make a mortgage difficult.
- Country of residence – Most lenders only accept expats in the European Economic Area (EEA). Some lenders will consider applicants outside the EEA. Still, you may be restricted, especially living in a red-list country.
Which mortgage lenders accept expats?
Some of the lenders that offer mortgages to expats include:
- Cambridge – Will only lend to expats living outside the UK for less than 12 months.
- Marsden – Applicants must earn at least £37,000 in GBP sterling equivalent.
- Dudley – There are no minimum income requirements for expats.
- Foundation – Applicants living abroad must have a UK credit footprint and a UK correspondence address.
- Newbury – Only accepts the following currencies: Euros (EUR), US Dollars (USD), Canadian Dollars (CAD), Hong Kong Dollars (HKD), Australian Dollars (AUD), Swiss Francs (CHF), Singapore Dollars (SGD), Saudi Riyals (SAR).
- Saffron – Considers expats who are first-time buyers with no minimum income requirements.
Many other lenders offer mortgages to expats. We recommend you apply with a lender after speaking to an advisor who can compare criteria and rates on your behalf.
Mortgage advisors for expats
If you qualify for a mortgage, it’s essential to remember that mortgage rates may be higher than if you were living in the UK. Our advisors work with multiple lenders, so we can check the rates across each lender, ensuring you get the best deal.
There are a lot of documents a lender will request to see if you’re applying for a mortgage while living abroad. Mortgage brokers can help you to collate this and present your application to lenders in the best possible light. This is crucial to getting accepted with the best possible rates.
You can make an enquiry or call us on 0800 195 0490 or ask our advisors a question online.
About the author
Martin is a senior mortgage advisor and has held a CeMAP qualification for over 15 years while also completing an MBA in Global Banking & Finance.