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Expat foreign currency mortgages: your questions answered

Written by Ipswich Building Society

18 Nov 2019


Expat, Expat foreign currencies

4 min read

Expat mortgages are generally more complex than standard mortgages, and especially so if you’re paid in a foreign currency or have been saving up a deposit for a UK property held in a foreign bank account. Get the answers to all of your expat questions in our dedicated FAQs section below.

What is an expat mortgage?

An expat mortgage is where an applicant living or working abroad seeks to purchase or remortgage a property in the UK. This could be for residential purposes – such as a home for the applicant’s partner and children, or as a buy to let where the property will be let out to tenants.

What are the different types of expat mortgages?

There are generally two types of expat mortgage – residential and buy to let.

A residential expat mortgage is where the applicant purchases a property for residential purposes, for example for their family or spouse in the UK to live in, or is simply maintaining the mortgage on their family home while they are working abroad. The applicant would generally be expected to return to the property at some stage.

Expat buy to let is where the property will be let out to tenants for a rental income in much the same away as a traditional buy to let.

Are expat mortgages more complex than other types of mortgages?

As a rule, expat mortgages can be a bit more complicated than many other types of mortgage, but this does of course depend on a number of factors including what country you live in, what currency you’re paid in and your own individual circumstances.

There may be a bit more work involved and you should make sure you understand the potential risks of owning and/or renting a property back in the UK.

What needs to be considered when applying for an expat mortgage?

There may be restrictions on certain currencies and countries of residence – for example, we will not lend to applicants living in any country that is UN sanctioned. Other lenders may not look at residential expat applications where the applicant is paid in a foreign currency.

You should also bear in mind practical things such as the time difference when talking to your potential mortgage provider as you may find your working hours clash.

Can I get a mortgage if I am paid in the currency of the country where I live and work?

This will depend on the lender’s individual criteria.

For buy to let applications, we’re happy to accept borrowers paid in any currency.

For residential expat, we will consider applications where the applicant is paid in the following currencies: euro, Swiss franc, Norwegian krone, US dollar, Canadian dollar, Singapore dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Kuwaiti dinar, UAE dirham, Qatari riyal.

We will accept mortgage deposits saved in any foreign currency, provided this is in an account in the applicant’s name and in their country of residence. This must be transferred to a UK based bank account prior to application. Alternatively, the deposit can come from a UK source in the applicant’s name.

As is standard with many lenders, we will require evidence of the source of the deposit. This could be through bank statements showing the build-up of savings, for example.

How much can I borrow?

The maximum amount you can borrow on one of our expat mortgages is £500,000, although the amount we would be willing to lend would depend on the value of the property, the amount of deposit/equity you have and other factors such as income and affordability.

How can I apply for an expat mortgage?

If you’re considering investing in the UK property market or looking to maintain or swap a mortgage on your existing home then call one of our Mortgage Consultants on 0330 123 0773 or send us an email at [email protected]

You can find more information on our current range of expat mortgages on our website.

This article was published under our previous name of Ipswich Building Society. We changed our name in 2021 – find out more.

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