Brits expats still investing in buy-to-let

Published:  1 Dec at 6 PM
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Brit expats working in Europe invest in London buy-to-lets whilst those working in the Middle East prefer North of England properties.

Perhaps the aboveo is something of a generalisation, but the statistics come from a major UK buy-to-let mortgage lender dealing with British expat property investors across the world. Over the past few years, the buy-to-let boom has forced real estate prices higher across the UK and caused a price explosion in London and its suburbs, but it still shows no sign of slowing down.

The survey breaks down property preferences according to the country in which UK expats are working, with, for example, Brit expatriates in Qatar and Singapore showing significant interest in buy-to-let properties in Scotland ignored by most investors, whilst those living in Switzerland will only consider buying in London and the South Eastern counties. At the present time, the majority of expat investors are located in the Middle East but, wherever buyers are located, many will find themselves paying bespoke terms should they need a specifically buy-to-let mortgage from a UK lender.

Providers are limited in number, and close scrutiny of the source of a foreign currency deposit is now the norm due to changes in money-laundering regulations. In addition, exchange rate fluctuations can play havoc with the process, and lenders are applying harsh rules to the assessment of potential borrowers’ financial positions. It’s normal now for enhanced due diligence to be applied to applications, meaning a longer wait for approval due to detailed admin processes, and if the buyer is an Australian national, the application will be refused due to an Australia/UK treaty forbidding lending to each others’ citizens.

Just ten lenders in total offer expat buy-to-let loans to those who already have a UK mortgage and wish to borrow more than £100,000. Requirements include an annual salary of £40,000 in euros or US dollars paid by a corporate employer, and a good deposit is required. For those who can’t fit the criteria, a mortgage broker is the answer, but fees and a higher interest rate will apply.
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