Mortgage Challenges for UK Residents

Mortgage Challenges for UK Residents

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French mortgages can be difficult to secure

Reader Question: We are looking to buy a home in France as it is much cheaper than the UK, but we are worried about getting a mortgage after Brexit. Is it still possible?

While you are unlikely to be outright refused a mortgage based on your nationality, there are situations where it may be more difficult to obtain one as a non-French resident. 

In theory, Britons who live in France, with their main residency in the country and a valid residency permit, do not face any more complications than anyone else. 

As long as they fulfil the general conditions for a mortgage, they will not face more restrictions than any other resident or citizen.

If your French is not good, however, you may wish to look into using an English-language mortgage broker to help you, as opposed to going through a French bank (although this is likely to incur additional costs).

This will ensure you understand all the documents you are signing, although some French bank branches are to dealing with English-speakers, and have English-speaking staff.

Is it now more difficult for non-residents? 

For non-residents, however, obtaining a mortgage may be tougher than before Brexit.

This is because banks tend to be more cautious in lending to non-residents outside the EU. 

As a result, you may have to provide a larger deposit than to a buyer from an EU country, up to half of the value of the home.

Sometimes, also, the bank will require non-EU residents to deposit a sum of up to two years’ worth of mortgage payments into a savings account with the same bank, as additional security.

The details will depend on your own circumstances; as usual, banks mostly want to be reassured they are not taking undue risks and that you will be able to repay.

Banks are, however, generally more hesitant to offer mortgages to non-EU nationals because of perceived increased risk and additional verifications. 

Again, however, specific brokers exist for non-residents, but expect to pay additional fees.

This being said, there is nothing specifically about being British – as opposed to American, Canadian, Australian etc – that makes it more difficult.

On the contrary, the UK is seen as a safer bet than many countries seen as more politically unstable and risky.

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