Expat borrowers are still in need of attention – Ganatra

by: Hiten Ganatra, managing director of Visionary Finance
  • 08/12/2020
  • 0
Expat borrowers are still in need of attention – Ganatra
If anyone is skeptical about the power of the press then I’d like to reaffirm its value following my last piece here in October, which bemoaned the lack of funding options for foreign nationals and expats.


Following its publication, I had numerous calls from specialist lenders offering details on their current lending propositions, but alas, since then only one lender has since entered the space, who were Together, albeit at a relatively low loan to value (LTV) for now. 

As recently reported by Bloomberg, the interest from Hong Kong buyers is an example of the continued level of demand from overseas in buying UK property.  

In the past six months, 42 per cent of all overseas property exhibitions in Hong Kong featured the UK, according to Eli McGeever, the vice president of international property at SohoApp.com.  



International interest 

They stated that although London is still the first choice for many buyers, Manchester has become so popular that it’s now the focus of almost one in three of those UK exhibitions. 

The pound remains weak compared to its historical average, while the Hong Kong dollar has been performing particularly strongly. This means the UK offers much better value for money, especially as Hong Kong’s property market is one of the most expensive in the world. 

When the stamp duty surcharge returns, it is also unlikely to deter overseas buyers in the future as the fall in sterling and the UK’s strong property market make up for this additional tax. 

In addition, starting from 31 January, British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders can apply to reside in the UK for a period of 30 months, which can be extended, or five years.  

Many will then be eligible to apply for settlement and eventual citizenship. Up to nearly three million people could apply for residency rights. 


Application rush 

Unsurprisingly, since the announcement there has been a surge in Hong Kong residents renewing BNO passports and one of our developer partners, BuyAssociation, has seen a spike in enquiries from Hong Kong with most parties are looking at this as an investment with scope to live. 

We can only expect this trend to continue as more Hong Kong buyers and investors feel the allure of the UK property market, and interest specifically in the North West is expected to increase further as well. 

In case you still are in doubt of the opportunities available, once again data from Legal & General Mortgage Club revealed interest among overseas buyers continued to be a driving force behind activity in the mortgage market in October. 

Figures from the SmartrCriteria tool, showed that mortgages for applicants with visas was one of the highest search terms among advisers with requests for ‘expats not in UK’ also on the list of top 10 adviser looked for terms. 

I know I sound like a broken record, but we desperately need more options for these types of borrowers. 


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