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Rob Pheasey Chief Executive At Marsden Building Society

Rising opportunities in the Expat Buy to Let mortgage market

Published on: 3 May 2024


The market for Expat Buy-to-Let mortgages is expanding, which presents a significant opportunity for intermediaries to expand, or break into this client-base.

At Marsden Building Society, we experienced a huge rise in Expat lending in 2023, with a 59% increase in Expat Buy to Let mortgage applications, compared to 2022.

Looking at the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), it would appear that more Britons are choosing to live abroad. The research suggests that the number of people emigrating from the UK for the year ending June 2023 was 508,000 - an increase of 37,000 compared to the previous year.

Despite leaving the UK, expats may choose to keep their UK properties as a long-term investment, leading to a consistent demand for Buy to Let mortgages specifically designed for UK expats. A weaker pound can also make UK property more affordable for our overseas nationals if their income currency has a higher value.

To excel in this niche market, it’s crucial for intermediaries to understand the particular requirements and unique challenges that expat borrowers face. This includes foreign income requirements and the complexities of working on behalf of overseas buyers.

For borrowers who are not earning income in GBP and are looking to apply for an Expat Buy to Let mortgage with the Marsden, it's worth noting that there are currently no currency restrictions in place for this type of mortgage, as long as the case meets Interest Cover Ratio (ICR) stress rates. However, applicants should be aware that there are certain restrictions on some countries from which applications will be accepted. Therefore, it’s recommended that intermediaries check whether their client’s country of residence is eligible for this mortgage option by visiting our website to view our excluded country list. Our Broker Support Team is available if you require further assistance.

It’s also worth noting that not all lenders have the capability of supporting landlords who don’t reside in England or Wales. As a specialist mortgage lender, we offer Expat Buy to Let products, which are designed exclusively for UK nationals living overseas. These products are specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of expats and provide them with a hassle-free way of investing in the UK property market.

Additionally, feedback from our broker partners has highlighted that our manual underwriting process allows us to take on cases that other lenders are unable to.

We take pride in helping borrowers overcome challenges and our approach enables us to support expats to achieve their goals. We are continuing to see high demand, and we’re approving increasing numbers of Expat Buy to Let cases.

By way of example, we helped an expat in Qatar who plans to move back to the UK in 10 years’ time, however, they wanted to purchase a property to let to maintain a foothold in the UK. They earn 300,000 QAR, for which the GBP equivalent wage is higher than our £37,500 minimum requirement. This combined with a £100,000 deposit on a property valued at £250,000, and potential rental income of £1,400 a month, meant the borrower comfortably passed our rental stress calculation of 125% at 5.5x income. As a result, we were able to approve the mortgage.

The UK expat mortgage market is a constantly changing sector that’s impacted by numerous factors, including global economic trends, regulatory changes, and the changing demands of expats. We’re committed to reviewing and understanding the marketplace and offering the right products for our expat borrowers. This makes it a challenging yet rewarding space for us and the brokers we work with.


- Rob Pheasey, Chief Executive at Marsden Building Society