Foreign National Mortgages FAQs

31st August 2021
Islay Robinson GROUP CEO

Islay Robinson

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Foreign National Mortgages FAQs
GROUP CEO

Islay Robinson

I am a UK citizen/resident, but my income is in a foreign currency. Can I get a UK mortgage?

If you live in the UK but get paid in a foreign currency, you are not alone. The scenario is surprisingly common, but it still causes significant challenges if you want a mortgage, particularly if you get large bonuses which would influence how much you could borrow or what you’d pay for a mortgage.

Lenders used to be more flexible if you earned foreign income, but after the mortgage credit directive was introduced in 2016, most lenders pulled out of lending in this situation. Today, this means that many mainstream lenders won’t let you borrow.

In this kind of situation, the risk is that you apply to several lenders only to be told none of them can cater to you because you have foreign income. The process often becomes frustrating and time-consuming, all while the property you want to buy remains on the market and you remain stuck.

Enness regularly assists clients with foreign income to secure competitive UK mortgages. Your broker knows exactly which lenders can lend in this scenario and will be able to source and negotiate a mortgage for you quickly and with a minimum of hassle.

I live outside of the UK, and/or I’m not a UK citizen. Will I be able to get a mortgage to buy property in the UK?

The buoyancy of the UK’s property market – particularly London – means that this isn’t an unusual scenario. However, despite high demand, it’s often complicated to get a mortgage for UK property if you live outside the UK, as lenders consider this a complex situation.

Many lenders will be hesitant to let you borrow if you are not a UK national and you live abroad, regardless of your net worth. It can be marginally easier to get a mortgage if you are an expat (i.e., you live abroad but you have UK nationality), but expect the process to be anything but straightforward if you are applying for a mortgage by yourself.

Regardless of whether you are a UK national or not, if you live abroad, a mortgage application process is likely to be paper-heavy and very time-consuming, with lenders taking considerable time to review and assess your mortgage application, and there’s no guarantee they will accept. The higher value your mortgage, the more difficult it is to find financing.

Ultimately, you need a lender that can comprehend and will accept:

  • The currency you are paid in
  • Your residency and nationality
  • Global assets and wealth

Enness regularly works with foreign property investors, expats and other individuals who want to buy UK real estate despite being outside the UK. Some lenders can accommodate you, notably international banks, which are used to dealing with international clients with global assets.

I want to buy property in the UK, but I’m self-employed in another country, earning foreign currency. What are my options?

This can be one of the most challenging scenarios for borrowing. Lenders tend to view self-employment as inherently riskier than employed borrowers, regardless of what you earn or the stability of your income. Add the element of foreign residency into the picture, and most lenders find it challenging to let you borrow.

Enness works with many self-employed clients, and there is often little reason you shouldn’t be able to borrow a significant amount to purchase a high-value property. Many of Enness’ international clients are self-employed, have a regular income, earn very well, and have accumulated a significant net worth. 

If you are self-employed abroad and have a robust financial situation, getting a mortgage in this scenario is usually about finding a lender that can accommodate this kind of complexity and then presenting your application in the best light.

To this end, your broker will start by understanding your company structure and tax positioning – this usually involves looking at your company accounts and/or your tax returns. Your broker will then approach the niche, alternative or specialist lenders to get you the best deal. Despite the complexity of your situation, Enness will be able to move things on quickly and secure a mortgage for you in the minimum timeframe.