And more recently, overseas homebuyers in the UK are benefitting from the relatively weak value of Sterling, which has consistently declined against the value of the dollar for more than a decade.
This effectively has made UK property more affordable, not just for UK expats in the United States, but for those living and working in many countries around the world which peg their currencies to the US Dollar, such as the Gulf nations.
These factors combined have helped to create new demand for home finance from expats looking to purchase property back in the UK.
In the last two years Al Rayan Bank has provided £152m worth of home finance to expats, an increase of 187 per cent on the prior two years.
Of this, we receive most demand from the Gulf region, with 26 per cent of our expat customers residing in the UAE, followed by Qatar with 19 per cent, and Saudi Arabia with 15 per cent.
To supply this increasing demand, Al Rayan Bank has invested in its distribution channels through locally based intermediaries, so that more expat consumers in the region have an awareness of the options available to them.
Opportunities for brokers
As well as offering competitive finance rates, all Islamic home finance products, including home purchase plans and buy to let purchase plans, are Sharia compliant.
This means the money deposited in the bank cannot be invested in industries associated with gambling, tobacco, alcohol, arms or any commodity that is not in keeping with the ethical values of Islam.
As a result, this is the ideal option for those looking for home finance to align with ethical or religious beliefs.
Islamic banks often provide great value too, as they are not allowed to charge arbitrary fees to their personal customers.
There is still work to do to raise awareness of Islamic finance.
By working collaboratively with intermediaries, we can help to educate consumers on the benefits of using these products.
The UK is already regarded as an established Western hub for Islamic finance.
The next goal is to continue to raise the profile of Islamic home finance among those living in the UK and beyond.