The UK has long been a jurisdiction of choice for buy-to-let investment properties. Investors from Dubai, other Emirates and MEA countries have been among some of the most prolific non-resident buyers of UK rental property, particularly in London. However, investors have looked outside of London for other property hotspots in recent years and have made some lucrative and shrewd investments further afield, as well as in the capital.
Non-resident UK mortgages can be challenging to secure if you are operating alone – especially if you are trying to approach lenders and submit applications from outside the UK. Applications can take longer to process when you are handling the process yourself without the help of a broker, even if you have an attractive profile for lenders (i.e., you are a high-net-worth individual, have lots of assets and so on). You may also find that most mainstream lenders in the UK will consider you with some degree of caution. This is often less to do with your wealth or suitability for a UK buy-to-let mortgage and more linked to assessment and underwriting. Many lenders automatically associate foreign nationals with higher risk and struggle to cater to you, even though many want to.
However, UK buy-to-let mortgages are very possible for Dubai residents (regardless of whether you are an expat or Emirati national) as well as residents or nationals from other MEA countries.
Unregulated Buy-to-let Property
Most Dubai residents or nationals looking for UK mortgages are in the market for what are known as unregulated mortgages. Essentially, this means you plan to buy a property you will not live in and don’t plan to rent to a family member. It’s a minor point, but unregulated mortgages have different affordability rules than regulated mortgages (which refers to a property you plan to live in), thus impacting what you will be able to borrow in relation to your UK buy-to-let property.
Usually, you will be planning to use the rental income to cover your mortgage repayments. Lenders typically want to see that your rental income exceeds your mortgage payments by at least 150% (some lenders may be flexible, and others may want to see a higher margin). Enness' brokers will be able to help you understand your options and the numbers here, and the lenders that are best suited to you and able to offer you the most competitive package on this point.
Lenders assess non-UK resident borrowers especially carefully concerning any buy-to-let property purchase, and if you are an Emirati or MEA citizen or resident, you will be no exception. Most lenders will focus on your income and will want to understand how regular it is, your future plans (particularly if you are approaching retirement age), and your other assets to ensure you meet their affordability and risk criteria. Lenders will look at these points particularly carefully for non-resident buyers, given that legal recourse and proceedings can be complex if you default on a mortgage. However, if you meet the lender's criteria, Enness will be able to secure competitive mortgage offers for you with relative ease.