It's the expat dream. To pack up your bags come summer and hop on a plane back to your very own holiday home in the UK. Be it a lock-up in the Lakes, a bolt hole by the sea or a cottage in the country.
For most of us, it's not a reality. But with the current state of market conditions, now is a favourable time for expats looking to add a UK property to their portfolio.
Thanks to a politically hot summer in the UK, Sterling is vulnerable to volatility and electoral uncertainty has gone some way to slow the housing market. For UK residents, it's a time to tighten the belts and delay buying a new property.
Not so for expats.
In many cases, your currency is worth a lot more in cold hard pounds, and according to Head of Wealth Management Gaenor Jones, Her Finance is experiencing an unprecedented increase in demand for UK mortgages.
"We've seen a big uptake in interest for UK mortgages - particularly buy-to-let. It could in part be attributed to lower interest rates and the weaker pound which has, in some cases, neutralised additional stamp duty costs."
But how easy (or hard) is it to be approved for a UK mortgage? Several major UK lenders put a stop to mortgages in May last year, due to a new policy requiring applicants to be resident in the UK in order to be eligible for a mortgage.
However, property solutions are still widely available - if they look in the right places according to Ms. Jones:
"Whilst it might be a struggle to get a mortgage through a lender back home, the field is wide open here. Through our mother company Globaleye and together with our partners and associates, we can facilitate mortgages for virtually any country in the world. If you already own a property in the UK, we can even help you release equity in the form of a remortgage to enable you to take advantage of current market conditions with the purchase of a holiday home or rental."
I'm sold. So how do I buy?Start this summer by checking out investment locations. If you're in the market for a holiday home, you should perhaps think about 'trying out' the areas before you buy, to avoid disappointment.
If like most buyers, you're looking for a second property or a buy-to-let, it's worth considering areas that are currently experiencing a boom in rentals.
As 'UK City of Culture 2017', Hull has flourished under extensive regeneration. The Aberdeenshire oil industry is currently lending itself to the rental market in Inverness. Leeds has always had a booming student population and is enjoying major investment appeal with the much-anticipated arrival of High Speed Two. Manchester is ranked alongside the capital as a prime buy-to-let market with 10,300 new homes required annually to keep up with growth until 2035. And the wild card - Stockport - is causing a stir on the rental scene with an expected GBP 1 billion being fed into commercial, retail and residential sectors.
Once you've staked out your investment location, take a look at your finance options. Ideally, you need to find a reputable agency with links to major international lenders. Her Finance, for example, offers a range of property solutions which take care of everything including borrowing from major lenders, property search, in-house solicitors and auditors and even currency solutions.