Understanding if you live abroad but want to buy UK property

Answered on 13 March 2018 by Nick Morrey


I’m a UK Citizen but I live abroad, what are my options for UK property?


Depending on if you already have a mortgage in the UK or are looking to purchase a new property will affect your options.

New Property

If you are an expat looking to return to the UK and buy a property. This is most certainly feasible, but as always will depend on your personal circumstances and meeting the lender's criteria.

You need to see whether or not lenders are comfortable with the size of your mortgage whilst you are out of the country and what you intend to use the property for – either to live in or as a buy-to-let (BTL) whilst you’re abroad.

As far as the residential mortgage is concerned some lenders will have a problem with you not currently being in the country.  A few will be afraid that you don't intend to return to the property and are just looking for a cheap BTL rate, others will not be able to carry out credit searches and will feel uncomfortable making a decision without this information.  Fortunately, there are more enlightened lenders who will look at your current circumstances, future employment in the UK, the property being offered as security and be able to make a decision based on sound underwriting.

Existing Property

If you already own property in the UK but are looking to raise capital from them, you will most likely require a buy to let mortgage either through an onshore or offshore lender. If you are not intending to return to the UK anytime soon, it will more likely to be an offshore lender. All the main UK banks have operations in either the Isle of Mann or the Channel Islands and will typically lend up to 70% of the property value.

Expat mortgages can be complicated with the declaration of funds, documents declaring identification, and general documentation needed for lender’s criteria. so depending on where you are currently living will have an impact on declaring affordability. More often than not we have a high number of Australian expat mortgage applications, Under Australian law banks need a credit licence to grant finance to anyone resident in Australia. As only a couple of banks in the UK have this licence or are willing the overlook it's requirement your choice of lenders is very restricted – so it’s always important to speak to a mortgage broker that can really help you find the advice you need.

You can talk to our team about your requirements on 0344 346 3672.

Answers provided in response to Ask the experts are based on the information provided and do not constitute advice under the Financial Services & Markets Act. They reflect the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of John Charcol. All comments are made in good faith, and John Charcol will not accept liability for them.

We recommend you seek professional advice with regard to any of these topics where appropriate.

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