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Expat mortgage borrowing growing at a rapid rate

Mortgage borrowing in the expat sector is over 26% higher overall than 12 months ago recent figures show. The number of mortgage applications for May, June & July combined also saw the highest numbers for the last 3 years. This is surprising to the market as it was muted that the coronavirus would have an adverse effect.

The really good news for the expat borrower is that application approvals have reached a record high in 2020 and look set to continue in this vain.

It has indeed been an extremely busy year for brokers and lenders alike as expat borrowers have taken advantage of the low interest rates that are on offer. Brokers around the Country believe business has been enhance by the Brexit situation with Brits wanting a foothold on the UK property market.

Re-mortgaging numbers in particular have been rising month on month and continue to do so. Expats have recognised that interest rates could be due to increase, perhaps later in 2020 and have taken advantage of the exceptionally good fixed rate deals that are available. The wise expat will move to re-mortgage now sooner rather than later.


If you are one of the thousands of expats who have not re-mortgaged, and you are still on a standard variable rate deal now is the time to review your circumstances. If the predictions are correct interest rates are due to rise early in the 2021 with further rises on the horizon.

Good news is there are still some very good fixed and discount deals on offer, but it’s likely they won’t be around for much longer.

Can we assist?

If you require some help with your current or new mortgage please do call one of our fully qualified advisers.


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How is the expat mortgage market holding up during these very strange times?

The market so far has been largely unmoved by Brexit and now the Covid-19 pandemic. Lenders have continued to drop interest rates across the board since last summer which indicates a lack of concern currently.

There seems to still be a large appetite for banks to lend. The rates are extremely competitive and there are still plenty of high loan-to-value mortgages available to expat consumers.

If you are an expat with a mortgaged property in the UK now is a great time to lock in a new deal for the next few years and make the most of the low rates on offer.

Expats re-mortgaging for value

Expat re-mortgaging levels have soared to an eight-year high in last 3 months as borrowers take advantage of lower monthly repayments the latest figures have revealed.

The value of re-mortgaging fell due to a drop in the average loan size, but with overall mortgage activity down it still accounted for two-fifths of total lending in the last 3 months.

Expat borrowing activity has been fuelled by the lower rates on offer, rates currently are the lowest they have been for the last 7 years.

Expats who have not reviewed their current mortgage deal recently would be well advised to do so as rates are expected to rise in the future.

Help required?

If you would like to review your current mortgage please do make contact and one of our fully experienced independent advisers will be happy to assist.

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Expats want UK properties

Political uncertainty in Hong Kong is one of the factors driving an increase in enquiries from non-UK residents.

Data showed ‘visas’ was the most searched for term by advisers in the last week of July, and searches for ‘non-UK residents’ were also on the rise.

The tool, which helps advisers determine whether a particular lender might consider an application from their client, also showed buy-to-let searches for applicants on a visa had also risen by 146%. This has been since the announcement of a 2% stamp duty surcharge for overseas buyers, which will come in effect in April 2021. But the stamp duty holiday, announced by the chancellor last month, was also cited as one of the other reasons for the interest from overseas buyers.

Hong Kong buyers

The rise in visa-related enquiries coincides with increased interest from Hong Kong-based buyers as they turn their attention to the UK housing market amidst growing political uncertainty in the territory.

Recent industry data revealed a surge in demand from Hong Kong-based buyers. It said this was likely to grow further following the government’s announcement on 22nd July of a new route to citizenship for 300,000 British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders.

Britain’s housing market is bucking the trend and has faced unprecedented levels of demand since reopening in May, and now figures show that a growing number of overseas buyers are also taking a very keen interest in UK property.”

Lending criteria is changing every day in the mortgage market at the moment, and advisers will be key in helping borrowers and others to cut through the red tape and find the best product for their particular circumstances.

Can we help?

If you are looking to secure a new or re-mortgage please do make contact and one of our independent advisers will be happy to assist.

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Expats living overseas

Almost five million Britons live or work outside the UK and many of them don’t want to give up property ownership in the UK. Over the past 10 years expat mortgages have grown in stature as more Brits see owning a property in the UK as a very good long-term investment.

It’s no secret that most European properties do not give the sort of investment returns that one in the UK does, so it’s little wonder expats look to secure property in their homeland.

Who needs an expat mortgage and what are the typical reasons? 

Britons living abroad, either temporarily or permanently, will need to obtain a mortgage from a lender that has chosen to lend to expats.

Typically, expats are looking to invest in buy-to-let property whilst living overseas, perhaps to provide an income in retirement or even to live in upon their return.

Whilst fluctuating exchange rates can, at times, provide a good opportunity for investors, it is also true to say that many expats earn better salaries abroad than they would do here in the UK. A lower cost of living means they have more disposable income and want to invest in UK property.

Value for money

The UK property market still offers really good value for money if you own a property or can afford to buy one. Anybody who has owned a property in a good area of the UK over the last 10 years would have seen their investment grow substantially.

Traditionally the UK property market has always offered good value long term investment potential and there is no reason to believe this will not continue long into the future. The only unknown factor is what will happen after Brexit has concluded and how any deal will affect the housing market.

Mortgage advice?

If you need assistance with a mortgage then call our expert independent advisers who are waiting to help.

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Expats should review their current mortgage sooner rather than later!

There is little doubt within the expat mortgage market that this year is the year of the expat re-mortgage. You only need look at the rates being offered by lenders – particularly in the lower Loan to Value (LTV) bands. The rates currently on offer are not going to stay this low for much longer so if you are an expat and have a current variable rate mortgage review it sooner rather than later.

Research confirms that over 50% of all expat borrowers who move to their lender’s standard variable rate after their initial deal terminates do not re-mortgage or product transfer for 3-5 years.

Also the report shows a quarter of re-mortgagors said they find the whole re-mortgage process difficult, with 47% saying they didn’t have time to shop around.

The “shopping around” mentality is clearly far more embedded in the UK consumer than ever before; however this doesn’t always translate to mortgage borrowers, even when the savings that can be achieved are substantial.

Expats need to get the message that re-mortgaging is where significant savings can be made – especially with rates as they are now. Rates are unlikely to remain this low for much longer so acting now could save thousand in the future. If you are an expat on a standard rate mortgage would you like to save upwards of £2300 PER YEAR? These savings are of course dependent on the size of mortgage you have but surely it is worth checking.

Warning – A re-mortgage is not always suitable for everybody as your existing deal may well have penalties attached to change within the discounted period. It is always recommended to seek professional help as to what is best advice to suit your needs.

Can we help?

If you are looking to secure a new or re-mortgage please do make contact and one of our independent advisers will be happy to assist.

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Good news for expats looking to buy

The stamp duty cut announced in the recent budget will also apply to those buying second homes and buy-to-let properties.

Government documents published following the Chancellor’s speech state that the tax relief for properties worth up to £500,000 will apply for those buying a first or subsequent property.

However, the 3% surcharge for buying additional properties will apply in addition to the new standard rates.

Therefore, for purchases in addition to a first home, just 3% will be paid for properties valued at up to £500,000, as opposed to the 5% paid before the adjustment.

After that, rates will apply as follows:

The next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000) 8%
The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million) 13%
The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million) 15%

The relief will also be applicable for properties to which inheritance tax applies.

The government says: Companies as well as individuals buying residential property worth less than £500,000 will also benefit from these changes, as will companies that buy residential property of any value where they meet the relief conditions from the corporate 15 per cent SDLT charge.

Can we help?

If you are looking for a new or re-mortgage please do make contact and one of our qualified independent advisers will be happy to assist.

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Expats lending expanding

March 2020 gross mortgage lending to expats has increased by 5.1% from the month before, this is the fourth month on the run. In addition to the month on month increases lending this year has increased 16.2% overall.

Experts believe these strong figures are down to the Brexit negotiations progressing albeit slowly but positively. There is definitely less confidence in the property values of other European countries. Property continues to gain value in the UK at a steady rate and looks like continuing for the foreseeable future unlike the rest of Europe. Covid-19 has had an effect on the market but the majority of experts believe this will be very short lived.

One other factor that has contributed to this robust growth is the number of re-mortgages completed. Both expats and UK residents are living in the fear that interest rates are about to jump. These fears are justified as already a good many long-term fixed rate deals have been withdrawn from the market but there are still some extremely attractive deals on offer.

UK property offers stability

The UK property market without doubt still offers value for money if you own a property or can afford to buy one. Anybody who has owned a property in a good area of the UK over the last 10 years would have seen their investment grow substantially.

It is expected that house price increases will level out as the year goes on with a steady and reliable growth rate, again spelling good news all round.

At present the outlook for 2020 and beyond is very positive within the UK property market, the signs are this will continue for the foreseeable future.

To sum up – traditionally the UK property market has always offered excellent value long term investment potential and there is no reason to believe this won’t continue.

Mortgage advice?

If you are in need of assistance with a new or re-mortgage, then please contact our expert advisers who are waiting to help.

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Expats are becoming active in the market again

The number of expats buying a home in the UK with a mortgage has bounced back to the levels seen before the coronavirus hit the world.

Totals of approved expat mortgages for house purchases in May reached the highest level since January earlier this year.

The number of loans in the pipeline for expat homeowners re-mortgaging to a new deal also increased significantly. The current trend compared with the previous months is on an upward spiral and looks like continuing. This is more evidence that the UK housing market is going to remain stable even with all the uncertainty the virus has brought to the market.

Why is this happening?

The mortgage figures support anecdotal evidence from estate agents that following a brief dip in confidence after the virus gripped, expat and UK buyers are once again returning to the housing market.

But despite the increase, mortgages for expats buying a house are still 4% lower than they were in October last year.

Who does it affect?

The fact that buyers appear to be returning to the market is obviously good news for people trying to sell a property. The return in confidence may also encourage more vendors to put their homes up for sale, increasing the choice available to house hunters.

But the flip side of the situation is that buyers are also likely to face increased competition for properties from other buyers, which is likely to force house prices higher.

Can we help?

If you are an expat looking for a new or re-mortgage please do contact one of our fully qualified independent advisers and they will be happy to assist.


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Expats still looking at buy-to-lets for income

There has been a marked increase in the number of enquiries from expats into      buying-to-let in the UK a recent report has highlighted. This activity has increased since the UK left the EEC on 31st January 2020.

The report from financial intermediaries revealed that 70% of respondents had seen a rise in enquiries from British expats about buy-to-let mortgages for UK property.

These findings reflect the growing demand for buy-to-let mortgages from overseas investors; due partly to the strength of foreign currency against the pound – attributed to the ‘Brexit effect’ – which has created an investment opportunity.

Following Brexit, the pound has weakened against most major currencies including the dollar and euro. Brits living in countries where the currency is pegged to the USA’s, such as Hong Kong have been attracted to investing in property back in their home country.

It was a concern for some that the new rules from the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) introduced early this year, which limited the amount expat landlords could borrow and tougher lending tests, would impact demand, but the report would suggest this hasn’t been the case.

What is happening is investors, including expats, are still buying-to-let in Britain, but perhaps focusing on lower loan-to-values and using larger deposits to take the various changes into account, as well as adapting their portfolios and business models to maintain their profitability: for example by looking at up-and-coming areas across the UK instead of the more traditional rental hotspots like London.

Given the strong rental market in the UK and interest rates at an historic low, it appears that expats are still keen to keep a foothold on their home property ladder, and whilst the buy-to-let market has faced a number of challenges recently, those taking a long-term view seem undeterred.

Like to talk over your needs?

If you are an expat looking for a new or re-mortgage please do make contact and one of our qualified independent advisers will be happy to help.


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Expat mortgages

As an expat whatever reasons you may have for considering purchasing a house or flat in the UK, the good news is that there are lenders who are more than willing to offer expats a mortgage. Many providers don’t even advertise the fact.

Certain parts of the country are stagnating in terms of increasing but overall the UK market is as vibrant as ever. There is still a lack of housing which makes the buy-to-let market very attractive to expats who want a foothold in the UK and achieve a return on their capital. If you look at the interest rates on offer at the major banks it’s little wonder why expats don’t see savings as a way forward.

Brexit has not deterred expats from buying in the UK, in fact since the vote activity has increase by 13%. After the referendum the industry feared expats would hold back purchasing but that has not been the case.

The expat mortgage market is very complex, and you should seek professional advice as to what product best meets your needs. We have a select number of companies offering very favourable rates which are tailored to suit most needs, including buy to let.

Items you will need to apply

  • Deposit available
  • Certified proof of address
  • Certified ID (Passport)
  • Bank statements (Normally 6 months)
  • Wage slips (Normally 6 months)
  • Certified accounts if self-employed.

These requirements vary from lender to lender and the above is just to give you a guide to help speed up the process. Contact us for any assistance you may require.

Can we assist you?

If you are looking for a new or re-mortgage do get in contact and one of our qualified independent advisers will be happy to help.