Your expat mortgage in the UK: How do I get the best expat international mortgage rates?
There are several ways banks look at an expat buy to let mortgage application, some focus more on rental income, some focus more on salary or other income. If your expat buy to let has a high rental income, that can help get a lower mortgage rate. Alternatively, if you have at least a 25% deposit and have low levels of debt overall, that can help reduce your mortgage costs too. The higher the deposit you have to put towards your expat buy to let mortgage, the lower the rate often is.
Finally, some lenders offer lower rates according to the size of the expat mortgage being taken – the larger the loan, the lower the mortgage rate.
Mortgage broker or bank?
Should I use an international online mortgage broker or deal directly with a bank?
The natural approach of many expats when they want to either remortgage their current house or need a new UK mortgage to buy again is to approach their old UK bank. However, this is usually not the best idea, because many high street banks such as Lloyds, Halifax and Santander do not offer expat or international mortgages at present. Others will enforce difficult conditions, such as requiring you to be a member of their premier or similar club, which may not be in your financial interest.
So is it better to just approach a building society?
Again, the answer is probably no, if, as a buyer you want to be sure you have considered all the options available to you.
Some example of why you might need an expat or international mortgage include:
- You want to rent your home in the UK, but it currently has your main residential mortgage on it and you are not being given permission to rent it by your existing UK lender
- Your existing UK home mortgage has reached the end of its fixed or discounted term and you now need to replace it, because you are living overseas
- When you moved abroad and became an expat, your lender allowed you to let it out. This has now expired, so you need a new mortgage that allows you to live overseas and rent your home in the UK
- You have been overseas for some time working as an expat. You now wish to develop a UK buy to let portfolio for pension or other savings goals
- You need to raise funds to refurbish your existing UK home, for example to put in a new kitchen or a loft room. Your current lender will not allow you to release capital from your home because you are now working abroad
- You have decided to settle for a while where you are living overseas and want to buy a house to save on local rental costs. You have equity in your UK property and want to use this to buy a family house where you are now living
International HSBC expat Mortgages
If you have an HSBC International expat or HSBC Premier account, you might be eligible for an HSBC international mortgage.
Barclays International Mortgages
If you have a Barclays International mortgage, you will need to speak to Barclays International.
With both Barclays International and HSBC expat, normally these banks will require you to have significant savings or a “significant financial relationship value” with them, before they can offer an international mortgage. Both banks will only offer expat remortgage products from within their own portfolios, not from the wider market.
Lloyds International Mortgages
Lloyds International customers who have moved abroad and want to convert a matured fixed rate mortgage in to an expat mortgage will need a new lender, as Lloyds International no longer offer expat mortgages.
NatWest International Mortgages
The position with Nat West International mortgages is slightly easier, as they have three routes into their international mortgage service.
Before applying for any international mortgage, it is a good idea to be aware of the basic criteria all lenders will insist upon: you should ideally be salaried, but the self-employed are welcomed by many lenders now and you should be prepared to contribute at least a 25% deposit. If you have a poor credit history, this can also act against you, but again, there may be ways around this. For more information or guidance on international mortgages, please contact our experts.