Dubai is a popular expat destination due to its tax-free earnings, sought-after climate and luxurious lifestyle. The general cost of living is also estimated to be around 25% lower in Dubai than in London (correct as of Sept 2021).
But Dubai is not the only destination that UK expats are drawn to. According to Expatra, Switzerland, Germany and Australia are the top three expat destinations for 2022.
With many domestic and expat clients, Sam is no stranger to sourcing a mortgage for UK expats looking to secure existing or new property at home. In this article we explore the questions that clients often ask us. We’ll cover how expat mortgages differ to standard mortgages, and how clients can secure one.
What is an expat mortgage?
Expat mortgages are mortgage products designed for UK expats who have moved abroad but are looking for a mortgage on a UK property.
Most commonly, clients’ approach LDN Finance for an expat mortgage because they have moved abroad and are looking to refinance their existing property, or they are looking to purchase a property ahead of returning to the UK.
What do I need to have to be able to get an expat mortgage?
If you’re living abroad, there are some requirements that you’ll need to have before applying for an expat mortgage:
- Proof of a job or employment contract, and subsequently income
- If self-employed, proof of earnings
- A clean credit history
- Equity or a deposit to secure the loan, around 20%.
Do not be put off speaking to an adviser if you don’t have one of these. Get in touch to discuss the options available.
How do expat mortgages differ to a standard UK mortgage?
Well, typically they don’t. Expat mortgages are very similar to standard residential mortgages as clients can access fixed or variable rates, capital repayment or interest only.
In some cases, expat mortgages tend to be less competitive when compared against residential mortgages. This is due to their specialist nature. However, that is beginning to change. As expatriation becomes an increasingly popular choice for UK nationals, lenders are exploring how they can make their products more competitive. One particular international bank now offers the same product options to expat and UK clients, assuming the client meets the usual criteria.
Are there many expat mortgages available?
Although there are less expat mortgages available when compared to standard UK mortgages, we tend to find that there are plenty of options to choose from. The lenders providing expat mortgages include certain high street banks who have an international arm and some smaller building societies, as well as private banks and offshore lenders. At LDN Finance we work closely with an extensive network of lenders to ensure we have access to all product options available.
Across the market there is typically a maximum loan to value (LTV) cap of 80% however, there is some flexibility surrounding this. For example, for high net worth individuals.
How do lenders account for currency fluctuations?
The expat mortgage lenders will take what’s called a ‘haircut’. This means that they’ll reduce the income they use in the application to account for currency differences. This haircut amount will vary from lender to lender and one jurisdiction to another. However, you can expect this haircut to be anywhere between 5% – 25% across the market.
Will I be able to get an expat mortgage with little or no credit history?
Lenders understand that you may not have the standard three years address history required when applying for a residential mortgage. However, each lender will differ their stance depending on their product. Most will adopt a bespoke underwrite by assessing a clients financial profile, for example level of income.
How can I secure an expat mortgage when living abroad?
When searching for a specialist mortgage such as this, it’s a good idea to speak to an adviser who can offer advice on your individual circumstance. Advisers such as myself and the LDN Finance team have extensive experience in sourcing expat mortgages, foreign-national mortgages and specialist residential mortgages.
Through our extensive network we have access to a wide range of expat mortgage products in order to help you secure the most suitable option. Get in touch today for more information.