British Expats – Getting a UK Mortgage When you Live Overseas
Climbing the first rung on the property ladder is hard enough when you live in the country you’re trying to purchase a property in.
But when you’re living overseas it can feel like someone’s kicking you off the ladder every time you get a hold on it.
According to recent estimates, UK expats are residing and working in an estimated 112 countries around the globe, with 41 of those nations holding over 10,000 UK expats each.
Although some have moved abroad for retirement purposes and have little intention of returning (not even to enjoy the lovely British weather) others aim to come back to the UK at some point and with property prices rising, they want to be able to buy a home now for them to live in when they do.
But unless you’re in a position where you can buy a property outright (which few people are) financing your purchase can be difficult.
For a UK national living overseas securing a mortgage can be a frustrating process due to some financial institution’s reluctance to lend to expats.
The situation was made even harder last year when Lloyd’s Banking Group (which governs several big lenders, including Halifax) took its expatriate mortgage range off the table.
Although other lenders have tried to fill the gap Lloyd’s left behind some are poorly equipped for assisting borrowers living in the world’s more exotic regions or else aren’t advertising their expat services very well.
Any expat applying for a mortgage must meet a very strict lending criteria. Income details must be verified, as must proof of address (which can be tricking if your company pays your bills/rent), and payslips/accounts will be requested. It’s also rare for an underwriter to be assigned to process your application, which can complicate the whole thing further.
In some cases how long you intend to remain overseas can be a factor in whether or not banks will lend to you. If you have a work contract which runs out within a year or two, for example, and can prove that you will have employment when you do, you might find that they are more willing to consider your application.
If you’re a UK Expat hoping to get a mortgage for a British property, banks/building societies which may be able to help you include Barclays, HSBC and Capital Fortune. However, before making any financial decision extensive research into all your options is advised, and if at all uncertain seek the advice of an independent, industry accredited mortgage expert.