Increase in British expats in Australia wanting to buy a property in the UK

by Ray Clancy on February 6, 2018

in Australia

In the last year there has been a 29% increase in the number of expats in Australia looking to invest in buy to let property in the UK, despite tougher lending criteria, new research has found.

Many British expats end up buying property as an investment and also as a home should they choose to move back, but tougher mortgages rules were introduced in 2014. It became even harder for expats when European rules in 2016 meant that anyone paying in a foreign currency are scrutinised even more when their applications are assessed by mortgage underwriters.

United Kingdom Australia

(By xtock/

There is a further hurdle for expats in Australia as options for mortgages on UK properties are limited further by certain Australian banking regulations and treaty arrangements, which technically precludes lending to each other’s residents, according to Cherry Mortgage and Finance, an expat mortgage broker based in the UK.

However, there are over 1.1 million British people living in Australia and many wish to buy property back in the UK, either as a pure investment, or as something they intend to live in upon their return.

‘We receive a large volume of enquiries from expats in Australia and have a handful of lenders that will arrange buy to le loans for them. Typically, UK expats are looking to invest in buy to let property whilst living in Australia, perhaps as a way to provide an income in retirement, or even to live in upon their return,’ said Matthew Fleming-Duffy, managing director of Cherry Mortgage and Finance.

‘On the whole, we receive enquiries from people in all walks of life including lawyers, bankers, IT professionals, teachers, engineers and those employed in the medical profession but it has got a lot harder to get a mortgage in the UK if you don’t live there even if you’re a British expat,’ he explained.

‘We saw a few lenders withdraw from expat lending last year, as a direct result of the EU Mortgage Credit Directive,’ he added.

According to the firm, those who have a 30% deposit, earn over £45,000 sterling equivalent, work for a multi-national corporate or have an existing UK mortgage will have more options.

‘If your income is lower, or if you are self-employed, or if you are looking to purchase more unusual properties, then you may find that the product options being offered to you are expensive and your potential purchase becomes unfeasible, or indeed that you cannot even borrow,’ said Fleming-Duffy.

The firm has identified over a dozen lenders who are willing to provide buy to let mortgages to expats in Australia. However, many mortgage lenders will only consider applications from them if they can meet certain specific criteria.

For example they may only lend to investors in Australia if they are buying British property via a Limited Company. Others will take applications from individuals but as with the mainstream mortgage market there are a wide range of fees, deals and variable rates.

Finalising the deal can also be tricky. Some lenders historically have had a requirement for potential mortgagors to leave Australia to sign documentation and the firm has experienced a case where the lender insisted on the client visiting the UK and signing documents in front of their solicitor. But more lenders have been developing a flexible approach to expats that live in Australia.

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