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By Pete Mugleston | Mortgage Advisor

Pete has been a mortgage advisor for over 10 years, and is regularly cited in both trade and national press.

Updated: 28th October 2020*

Mortgages for expats can be more complex than ‘domestic’ mortgages. In this article, you’ll learn about UK expat mortgage rates, how they vary from ‘regular’ mortgage rates, and how to find the best mortgages for UK expats. Need a little help or guidance? Get in touch. We work with a number of expat brokers who are experts in finding the best mortgages for UK expats. Here’s what you’ll learn in this article…

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What do I need to know about expat mortgage rates?

Put simply (and when compared to ‘domestic’ mortgages), expat mortgages often come with higher interest rates, which makes these products scarcer and potentially more expensive. The process of getting one can also be slower and involve more paperwork. The costs and amount of work involved will depend largely on where you’re located, where you want to buy, and what you plan to do with the property.

What is the key to getting the cheapest expat mortgages?

The cheapest expat mortgages are typically reserved for returning UK expats with good credit and large deposits. For example, if you’re based in France, have a huge deposit, and are looking to buy a house in the UK that you’ll soon return to live in – you could be in for a smoother ride. But if you’re looking at a buy to let investment in a country that has a more unstable social and economic outlook, mortgage providers may be less willing to consider your mortgage application or more likely to hit you with higher rates. In both situations, one of the whole of market expat mortgage brokers we work with can help you to get the best deal for your needs and unique circumstances. Give us a call on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and we can arrange for an expert to get in touch and discuss further.

Is it any different for holiday homes or buy to let?

Most likely. Mortgage interest rates can be even higher for investment properties but that isn’t to say finding a favourable deal is impossible. Like in the UK, mortgage applications for holiday homes and buy to let also have to factor in the projected cash flow from the property. Put another way, the deal has to make ‘business sense’ to your lender.

This is on top of your ‘standard’ personal affordability – such as your credit, the size of your deposit and so on. In many cases, lenders will look more favourably at your application if you can put up some collateral, or a substantial deposit. Holiday lets such as “Airbnb” are a relatively new concept in the UK and lenders are only just starting to explore this type of lending. There are a few specialist lenders out there who’ve ironed out a process to work with and a handful of them will consider lending to expats. Get in touch and we’ll put you in touch with an advisor who can help with this.

How do I find the best mortgage deals for UK expats?

Like with ‘domestic’ mortgages, the best mortgage deals for UK expats usually come down to

  1. Finding the lender and product best suited to the loan you need
  2. Ensuring that this lender gives you the best rate – by lowering the perceived risk you pose to them.

Finding the best lender

The best mortgages for expats aren’t usually to be found on the high street. International financing is a complex business and many high street lenders don’t have any appetite for it. As such, you may need to look further to a more specialist lender before you can even get the ball rolling. Again, you could consider contacting a broker if you wanted help ‘widening the net’.

Ensuring that you’re as ‘low risk’ as possible

As with domestic mortgages, some of the best expat mortgages are reserved for borrowers with large deposits, large salaries and strong credit.

What’s the best mortgage for returning expats?

Again, this isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ scenario. Everyone’s circumstances and needs are different – which means that the best lender for you might not be the best lender for someone else. That said, when comparing mortgages as a returning expat, you may want to keep the following in mind.

Your credit history

If you’ve been away from the country for a while, you might not have an up to date UK credit history (or any credit history at all). Some lenders won’t consider you because of this, but there are still lenders that will. Get in touch to find out more.

Your employment history and income sources

Lenders use your employment history and earnings as a way to assess your affordability. Working abroad and applying for a UK mortgage based on foreign currency can add an extra layer of complexity.

This could also the case if your income is ‘non-standard’ (if you are self-employed, or earn money through other sources).

Having a UK correspondence address

Lenders prefer it when you’ve had an address for correspondence for at least 3 years before making your application. It doesn’t have to be a property that you own. If you’re making plans to return to the UK and still have a few years to go, getting a correspondence address sorted out now may make things easier later.

Where can I find a UK expat mortgage comparison?

One option could be to look at the country that you’re interested in, and see if there’s a local market comparison service that can give you an idea of what local lenders are offering. But, as a UK expat, it’s not certain that all of these lenders would be open to you. Your best bet is to get in touch with one of the expat brokers we work with. They have access to the whole of the market (which includes specialist expat outfits, international money lenders and lesser-known private banks). They can look through the entire market on your behalf – comparing expat mortgage rates to ensure that you get the best deal possible.

Talk to an expat mortgage expert today

If you’re looking for the best expat mortgage rates and want to speak to an expert for the right advice, call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry. Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the mortgage broker with the right expertise for your circumstances. We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation or marks on your credit rating.

Updated: 28th October 2020
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FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.