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By Hans Esser, for ExpatBriefing.com
17 February, 2017
Skipton International, the offshore bank, has reported that it has seen applications for UK mortgages from expats in Hong Kong more than double over the past three years, and applications from elsewhere rise too.
It said January 2017 had seen 250 percent more applications from Hong Kong-based expats, compared with January 2016, and a 46 percent increase in applications from clients from around the world.
Skipton International launched buy-to-let mortgages in 2014 in response to the difficulties many British expats faced when trying to invest in buy-to-let property in England and Wales. Since then, the Guernsey-registered bank has completed over GBP150m (USD186m) of expat loans, on more than 770 mortgages, the company said.
Nigel Pascoe, Director of Lending at Skipton International, said: "Mortgage applications from British expats in Hong Kong have been particularly strong this year and are nearly as high as the number of applications we had for the whole of the first quarter of 2016. Normally January is a quieter month for mortgage applications but this year we have not seen any slackening; instead, we have seen the number of applications continue to grow."
Skipton said that a broader trend is emerging, with British expats looking to take advantage of the devaluation of the pound following the vote for the UK to leave the European Union. Pascoe said: "UK buy-to-let remains a very popular long-term investment for British expats. Hong Kong has been a popular source of applications since we launched the expat mortgages, and as our latest figures show, demand from the far east is continuing to grow."
"We saw a large increase in applications following the devaluation of Sterling last autumn, with expats viewing it as an opportunity to use foreign savings to buy UK property. Investors can benefit from long term capital gains, while servicing their mortgage from rents paid in the local currency."
Most demand was for properties in London, with 40 percent of applications for properties there, next followed by the South East of England (25 percent). Just 10 percent of British expats purchasing property to rent out sought to invest in either the South West or the North West.
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