UK Mortgages for Middle Eastern Residents

17th Oct 22
Islay Robinson GROUP CEO

Islay Robinson

UK Mortgages for Middle Eastern Residents - Enness Global

Islay Robinson

One of the most frequent questions we get asked is whether UK mortgages are available to Middle Eastern residents. Often, non-UK residents mistakenly believe they can’t get UK property finance because they have approached a high street bank and subsequently been rejected for a mortgage. We have access to a network of more than 500 international lenders who can offer high-value finance and who are happy to work with Middle Eastern residents.

Key Takeaways: UK Mortgages for Middle Eastern Borrowers:

  • Private banks, non-bank, niche and alternative lenders tend to be able to cater best to Middle Eastern nationals buying in the UK

  • You do not need a credit footprint in the UK or to have lived in the UK to access a UK mortgage

  • If you need a UK bank account to access a UK mortgage, we can help you set this up as part of your mortgage application process. Alternatively, we can negotiate a mortgage for you using your existing international bank account

  • High-value mortgages of £1 million+ or more are on offer, including for buy-to-let investments, holiday homes, country estates, etc.

  • Depending on your net worth, income, and financial situation, different types of mortgage products are on offer, including large buy-to-let mortgages, private bank mortgages, high LTV mortgages, interest-only mortgages and mortgages adapted to you if you have complex or unusual income

Can I get a High-value UK Mortgage as a Middle Eastern Buyer?

Yes. Many Middle Eastern buyers purchase prime UK and London property using a mortgage. You can use property finance to buy a buy-to-let investment, commercial or mixed-use property, a holiday home, a London pied-a-terre or a country estate. 

Private banks and alternative lenders will tend to serve you best if you want a high-value mortgage as a Middle Eastern buyer. The UK has plenty of high-street lenders, but these tend to operate firmly in middle-market territory, offering mortgages of up to £1 million to domestic buyers. As a foreign national, these lenders may struggle to provide you with a larger mortgage, especially if you have what they consider to be an unusual financial background. The UK’s high street lenders have a strong preference for vanilla borrowers: salaried employees and very liquid individuals with simple revenue structures and plenty of UK assets. This means they can struggle to assess your suitability for a mortgage if your financial situation doesn’t meet relatively fixed lending criteria. You may find that even something like running your own business – no matter how successful – can be challenging for the UK’s high-street banks to consider when it comes to your ability to borrow.

Conversely, private banks and alternative lenders have a significant appetite for high-value mortgages. These institutions are more flexible in their approach and are better equipped to work with you as a Middle Eastern buyer. They can also consider you if you:

  • Have multi-currency income

  • Have legacy wealth

  • Are an entrepreneur

  • Generate your day-to-day living capital from structures like trusts

  • Use international corporate entities to streamline capital, income and hold your assets

  • Have non-standard income (i.e., you draw funds from a business rather than a salary via employment)

  • Etc

Accessing private banks and alternative lenders from abroad isn’t always easy without a broker like Enness to support you on the ground. We are specialists in helping Middle Eastern clients to access UK mortgages –including in high-value deals. We negotiate the best lending terms for you and manage the entire process to ensure a smooth transaction.

I Want a UK Mortgage, but I Don’t Have a UK Credit Footprint or Bank Account. Is this a Problem?

Many Middle Eastern nationals don’t have a UK bank account or credit history. Usually, a complete lack of credit footprint will make it challenging to access UK property finance from mainstream lenders. These players focus on lending to vanilla borrowers with scenarios they have seen regularly and can assess against set lending criteria. A UK credit footprint (usually supported by a UK bank account) and, in some cases, a history of having lived in the UK will help lenders assess your suitability for a mortgage. Many mainstream lenders will struggle to offer Middle Eastern nationals a UK mortgage without these elements. The more you want to borrow, the harder it will be to access a mortgage from high street lenders, no matter your net worth or the strength of your financial situation. 

Private banks, non-bank lenders and alternative lenders can consider lending to you if you have never lived in the UK and if you don’t have a UK credit footprint. However, getting your application in front of the right team at these lenders can be challenging if you don’t have a contact to do this for you and, in a second step, help you negotiate your UK mortgage. As specialists in assisting non-resident and Middle Eastern borrowers, we will help you access all the lenders that can offer you a mortgage and ensure you get the most competitive deal. 

Do I Need to Have Lived in the UK or Europe to Access a UK Mortgage?

No. We regularly work with Middle Eastern buyers who are purchasing their first international or UK property and don’t have any UK or European footprint to support them in getting a mortgage. Again, private banks and niche lenders tend to be better able to cater to you if you haven’t lived in the UK before but want a UK mortgage. They are used to working with foreign buyers, and although they will have a thorough underwriting and compliance process, they tend to be more flexible in terms of the documentation they require and the borrowers they can consider than high-street banks.

What Mortgage Sizes Do Lenders Offer Middle Eastern Borrowers?

The lenders that operate at the top of the market don’t cap mortgage amounts or lending, especially if you are a high-net-worth individual and can document you have a considerable asset base, significant net worth and good liquidity and income. Here, what will determine how much you can borrow will centre on the value of your liquid assets, personal income, any debt you hold and how this compares to the amount you want to borrow. 

If you have an annual income of more than (the equivalent of) £300,000 as well as liquid assets valued at £3 million or more, we will usually be able to create a completely bespoke mortgage product for you from a private bank, rather than adapting an off-the-shelf lending product. 

We can help you access lenders that offer high-value mortgages. We regularly work on significant mortgage deals for non-resident Middle Eastern nationals, helping our clients arrange UK finance on property worth £5 million, £10 million or more. 

Get in Touch

If you are considering buying a UK property and would like more information about accessing a high-value mortgage as a Middle Eastern national, get in touch. We are experts in high-value property finance for EMEA residents and nationals and can talk you through your options and explain more about what’s on offer in terms of mortgage rates and products.