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Expat mortgage approval is not “a struggle”

8th January 2015 Print

Despite British expats now typically being classed as ‘high risk’ by UK lenders, mortgage approval should not be a struggle - if three key steps are taken, affirms the UK arm of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations. 

The upbeat message from deVere United Kingdom, part of deVere Group, which has 80,000 mainly expatriate clients globally, follows ongoing media reports that Britons living overseas who try to obtain a mortgage in the UK are routinely rejected by British banks and building societies.

Kevin White, Head of UK Financial Planning at deVere United Kingdom, comments: “Is it impossible for a British expat to get a UK mortgage nowadays? No, not at all.

“95 per cent of our clients who live and/or work overseas get a mortgage agreement.  This is despite the majority of expats being flagged up as ‘high risk individuals’ because of their lower UK credit rating as they have lived outside the UK, earned a different currency and worked for a non UK-based firm. 

“Even in today’s tougher mortgage environment, it’s our experience that if expats follow certain criteria, mortgage approval should not be any harder for expatriates than for UK residents. 

“These criteria include being seen to have both local and international bank accounts that are relatively stable; demonstrating that they have committed to saving a decent deposit; and hiring the services of an English-speaking public notary or lawyer who can certify documents locally.”

However, expats also need to consider two important additional factors, which non-expats would not necessarily need to, before signing on the dotted line.

Mr White explains: “Expatriates need to be careful that interest rates are in the currency they want the mortgage in. For instance, a mortgage in sterling for a client earning in Dirhams (UAE) could mean the mortgage payment goes up as and when currencies fluctuate.

“Expats must also make sure they are not being charged 'additional fees' because of their offshore status. We have seen mortgage brokers charge up to 1.5 per cent of borrowing because they are an expat.”

He concludes: “Expats need not be frozen out of the UK property market.  I’m confident with the right advice and the following some fundamentals, there is no need for British people living overseas to be left out in the mortgage wilderness.”