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Can Foreign Nationals Buy UK Property?

If you are a non UK resident, or are living and working abroad, you can still purchase buy to let property in the UK for investment.

This includes if you are:

  • an EU citizen
  • a non EU citizen
  • British nationals living and working abroad as an expat
  • a skilled worker living in the UK on a tier 2 visa
  • a foreign national 

Buy to Let Mortgages

If you need to secure finance to buy your property, you will need to apply for a buy to let mortgage.

Obtaining a buy to let mortgage in the UK can be harder and more expensive for non UK nationals, compared to applicants with permanent residency or indefinite leave in the UK. This is because it harder to prove to lenders that you can pay the monthly mortgage payments and you are restricted to mortgage lenders who will consider the mortgage application.

It can be easier to get a mortgage if you have:

  • been a UK resident for at least 2 years
  • a permanent job
  • a UK bank account
  • a good UK credit history
There is different criteria and lending depending on your status in the UK. Below we look at the most common scenarios:

Foreign Nationals

If you are a foreign national working and living abroad, you would

Anyone entering the buy-to-let marketplace today should consider the impact of changes to tax regulation in the sector and whether to arrange the loans under an LTD company to take advantage of potential tax benefits.

There are a sizable number of lenders available but the usual practice of the best deals mainly catering to lower risk customers will still apply.

Applicants with several years of UK residency and at least a couple of years remaining on any current visa will be most likely to have access to the “high street” or very competitive rates.

Those with less time on the visa remaining or shorter residency history may well be able to arrange something that is not vastly more expensive, but those applicants who have only lived in the UK for a few months will be limited to quite costly options at first.

Similarly, there are very few competitive options for first-time buyers and so those who already own a home that they live in will have the best range of deals available. If you already own an existing buy to let then better options will be available.

Anyone buying a buy to let as their first purchase should expect considerably higher interest rates than mainstream lenders offer and much higher fees.

But you could change over to a more normal lender in most cases within 6 to 12 months.

Once you are either a “residential owner-occupier” or an experienced landlord for half a year or more, then you should be able to access a much broader range of options.

More lenders catering to tier 1 and tier 2 visas, and a fair number for spousal, ancestry and EEA Family members but applicants on refugee visas will be limited to much more costly options.

Whilst there are lenders with no minimum income requirements you would normally need an income of some kind and the better your income, the better the range of options that should be available.

Anyone who owns a property abroad should be aware of the higher rate stamp duty rules. Any share in a property worth more than £40k wherever it is will mean the higher rate stamp duty becomes liable and on high-value properties, the difference in tax is very significant.


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