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Old 27.05.2020, 15:55
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buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

Hi all,

Since ruling out investing in a property in Switzerland, I've been thinking if I should purchase a property in the UK with my hard earned franks

The way UK mortgages work is:
The amount of max mortgage you can get = your declared income x 5
(I'm oversimplying it for an easy understanding, I know it's not the perfect formula, it's just an idea for those who dont know much about the mortgages in the UK).

Having been paid in Switzerland, does anyone know how to work out UK mortgage affordibility?

Is it to do with how much Swiss income I declare in the UK when doing "UK self-assesment"?

I presume I'd also get worse deals as lenders would be jeleous of an expat in Switzerland

(Please exclude Swiss side of things; how to get the money out of Swiss, Swiss taxes, etc. anything Swiss in your answer as I'm only interested in my UK mortgage affordability).

Many thanks in advance.
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Old 27.05.2020, 16:00
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

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Hi all,

Since ruling out investing in a property in Switzerland, I've been thinking if I should purchase a property in the UK with my hard earned franks

The way UK mortgages work is:
The amount of max mortgage you can get = your declared income x 5
(I'm oversimplying it for an easy understanding, I know it's not the perfect formula, it's just an idea for those who dont know much about the mortgages in the UK).

Having been paid in Switzerland, does anyone know how to work out UK mortgage affordibility?

Is it to do with how much Swiss income I declare in the UK when doing "UK self-assesment"?

I presume I'd also get worse deals as lenders would be jeleous of an expat in Switzerland

(Please exclude Swiss side of things; how to get the money out of Swiss, Swiss taxes, etc. anything Swiss in your answer as I'm only interested in my UK mortgage affordability).

Many thanks in advance.


It's all done on take home pay, fixed outgoings and how much you can afford each month rather than salary multiples. Deals very much depend on the amount of deposit you have too. Or it was in 2018 (last time I sorted a mortgage - it was different again the two times before that!). Probably best to approach your UK bank in the first instance and ask - presuming you still have an account - or an independent adviser .

You might find some lenders reluctant because you're being paid in CHF - it's what presented a difficulty for us. You will likely need to make it very clear to any mortgage provider (in writing, possibly many times) that your salary is not in GBP. That was a sticking point. YMMV obviously and this is my experience from a couple of years ago.

Good luck with your purchase.
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Old 27.05.2020, 17:06
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

Chances of getting a mortgage from a UK lender on a UK property when you are domiciled in Switzerland are nearly zero. The exception is some that offer expat mortgages, but their rates are uncompetitive to say the least.

I presume you are looking at a buy to let rather than just parking your cash in an asset. In which case lenders don't look at income multiples like if you were looking to live in it i.e. your 5x income, they would look at the rent coverage ratio and it would need to be 125% of the mortgage interest. However, this is all irrelevant if you are not domiciled.

If you really want UK real estate exposure, you could look at investing in a REIT.
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Old 27.05.2020, 17:53
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

I got a mortgage, from a Swiss bank (at Swiss interest rates I may add) for a buy-to-let property in the UK.

Worth speaking to your bank - some are more flexible than others.
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Old 27.05.2020, 17:55
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

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I got a mortgage, from a Swiss bank (at Swiss interest rates I may add) for a buy-to-let property in the UK.

Worth speaking to your bank - some are more flexible than others.
Was that recently? It has become much more difficult the last years.

I got a mortgage from a German bank on my Swiss salary, but that was years ago.
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Old 27.05.2020, 17:58
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

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Was that recently? It has become much more difficult the last years.

I got a mortgage from a German bank on my Swiss salary, but that was years ago.
About 18 months ago, give or take. Currently considering doing the same again if price fall due to COVID.
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Old 27.05.2020, 18:09
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

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About 18 months ago, give or take. Currently considering doing the same again if price fall due to COVID.
Why did you use a German bank if I may ask? Is the property in Germany?
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Old 27.05.2020, 18:12
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

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Why did you use a German bank if I may ask? Is the property in Germany?
You're confusing people I used a Swiss bank. The interest rate was substantially lower than what my British bank was offering.
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Old 27.05.2020, 18:12
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

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Chances of getting a mortgage from a UK lender on a UK property when you are domiciled in Switzerland are nearly zero. The exception is some that offer expat mortgages, but their rates are uncompetitive to say the least.

I presume you are looking at a buy to let rather than just parking your cash in an asset. In which case lenders don't look at income multiples like if you were looking to live in it i.e. your 5x income, they would look at the rent coverage ratio and it would need to be 125% of the mortgage interest. However, this is all irrelevant if you are not domiciled.

If you really want UK real estate exposure, you could look at investing in a REIT.
I have still got my residence in the UK where I spend %40 of my time.

Would that count as a UK resident with a Swiss salary?
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Old 27.05.2020, 18:13
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

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Why did you use a German bank if I may ask? Is the property in Germany?
Yes, but then there came an EU ruling that made it almost impossible. But then, the UK is soon out of that so that may change for you.
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Old 27.05.2020, 20:14
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

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I have still got my residence in the UK where I spend %40 of my time.

Would that count as a UK resident with a Swiss salary?
Probably got a chance in that case. I suspect the Swiss earnings may cause issues, but less so if it‘s a buy to let and meets the criteria I said earlier.

I would say your best bet is to approach a decent broker in the UK and ask them.

On another forum I frequent Liam at https://www.lt-mortgages.com/ is very well regarded. I‘m not in anyway connected with him and can‘t personally vouch for him, but I‘ve never seen a bad word said.
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Old 28.05.2020, 11:31
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

Not sure about a Swiss bank lending on a UK property.. (spill the beans.. who lent you the money ?)

Of course you can buy a UK property while living in Switzerland.. being British just makes it easier.

Just call a few of the big banks to get started (my UK mortgage is with TSB).. and google for mortgage brokers looking after expats.
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Old 28.05.2020, 17:55
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

I got a mortgage last year to buy a house in the UK. Not sure how they calculated the affordability but I knew I could afford what I was asking for (my LTV was less than 50%). I got quite far with Liquid Expat who brokered me a mortgage with Natwest, but found out that i was eligible for HSBC directly so went with them. The rate was slightly better and quite close to domestic rates. May have even been a domestic rate.
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Old 29.05.2020, 16:02
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

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Not sure about a Swiss bank lending on a UK property.. (spill the beans.. who lent you the money ?)
Habib bank
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Old 30.05.2020, 03:18
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

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I have still got my residence in the UK where I spend %40 of my time.

Would that count as a UK resident with a Swiss salary?
No. You're primary residence will be the one where you pay tax on your employment income and live for the majority of the time. Regardless of that, you'll still have to complete tax returns in Switzerland and self-declaration tax returns in the UK. There is currently no exemption for British non-resident landlords from completing a self-dec tax return in the UK. This was confirmed to me by HMRC on the phone this afternoon.
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Old 30.05.2020, 09:47
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Re: buying a house in the UK whilist living in Switzerland

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No. You're primary residence will be the one where you pay tax on your employment income and live for the majority of the time. Regardless of that, you'll still have to complete tax returns in Switzerland and self-declaration tax returns in the UK. There is currently no exemption for British non-resident landlords from completing a self-dec tax return in the UK. This was confirmed to me by HMRC on the phone this afternoon.
I suspect someone spending 40% of their time in the UK would be dual tax resident. The statutory definition of U.K. residence will explain, U.K. will also tax the Swiss income with a credit for tax paid, however many Swiss deductions not allowed in the U.K.
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