How Can Expats Buy Property in London?

How Can Expats Buy Property in London?

September 19, 2019 Off By Lauren

The competition for property in London is high. With a population creeping towards 9 million there is simply not enough homes to meet requirements – hence the UK housing crisis. However, it is not all doom and gloom when it comes to purchasing property in London as an expat and you certainly won’t be alone. Given that the UK’s capital is a hub for politics, economy and culture countless foreigners call the city home and add to its diversity. 

Can expats legally buy in London? 

There are absolutely no restrictions on expats buying property in London or the UK in general. Expats can secure a mortgage just like any UK resident can. However, if you have lived in the country for less than two years or do not hold a job in the UK you may be asked to pay a larger deposit and face lengthier financial checks. 

Property prices in London 

If you look at any London property map you will be able to see that prices do vary throughout the 32 boroughs. However, for those who aren’t au fait with UK property prices, London values are at a minimum double that of the UK average – £230,292. How much you will pay for a home in London will be dependent on how centrally located it is. It is worth remembering that the cheaper properties tend to be found in the outer London Underground zones. 

Another factor affecting the value of property in the capital is the style and home type. The more expensive homes tend to be highly contemporary or period. Whilst it is often assumed that apartments and flats are a more affordable property investment, some of the luxury and penthouse options in London skyrocket into the millions. Understandably, period detached homes, townhouses and mews homes come with a hefty price tag also.

How can I get a mortgage in the UK as an expat?

Whilst we have established that expats can secure a mortgage in the UK. If you will be going through the process, ensure you have the following paperwork to hand:

  • Your passport and photocopies of it
  • Bank statements and/or wage slips
  • Utility bills 
  • Letter from your employer 
  • P60 benefits statement (if applicable) 

These documents will allow you to have the relevant credit checks to receive a mortgage in principle. 

Step by step UK mortgage guide for expats 

Below is a simple set of key points to help you through the buying process in London:

  1. Shop around for a mortgage that suits you
  2. Provide paperwork to receive a mortgage in principle
  3. View properties until you find one that is in your budget
  4. Agree on a price with the seller via your estate agent
  5. Ensure you have a solicitor on board to help with the legal side of buying
  6. Pay your deposit
  7. Agree a completion date 
  8. Have any relevant checks and surveys carried out
  9. Complete on the property 
  10. Move in

If you’re an expat wanting to settle in London you can purchase a property even if you are a non-resident. Whilst the mortgage application can take a little longer there are countless foreign homeowners in the capital. One route some expats take when buying a home in London is to purchase in cash, this eliminates the need to take out a mortgage but it understandable that this is not an option for everybody.