Published: April 30, 2024

How are GCC investors using a UK mortgage to unlock investment opportunities?

Written by Amber Furr
GCC investors securing UK mortgage

The strength and maturity of the UK property market continues to attract international investors, especially those from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

This year, GCC investment into UK property is expected to hit a noteworthy $3.2 billion. But what’s driving this surge in interest, and how are GCC investors navigating the landscape of UK mortgages to unlock these opportunities?

Watch the video podcast

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube podcast, where we asked the expert, Paige Bennett, Partner at Enness Global – international finance brokerage specialising in UK mortgages for GCC clients. 

A market of stability and opportunities

With its rich history and robust market, the UK promises not just high quality property but a trophy asset – a term that captures the blend of prestige, stability, and potential returns on investment. Find out more on where to invest in 2024.

Amidst the bustling local markets of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and beyond – which are showcasing impressive performances – many GCC investors are finding themselves with extra liquidity. This financial boost is enabling Select Property’s clients to diversify their portfolios and turn their sights to the UK, a market known for its strong, stable returns over centuries.

Contrary to common misconceptions, securing a UK mortgage as an overseas investor is a strategy employed by many. In fact, it’s become a popular strategy not just for investment purposes but also as a means to finance education or provide accommodation for children studying in the UK.

Read our blog on financing your child’s education through UK property investment, where we discuss the added layer of demand for rental properties in student-heavy cities like Manchester, Birmingham, and Sheffield.

The ease of financing UK property as a GCC native

For GCC nationals, the process of obtaining a UK mortgage is generally straightforward. The absence of a UK credit footprint or bank account is not a barrier, with many lenders willing to facilitate the opening of UK bank accounts for their clients. This ease of access, coupled with the guidance of expert brokers, makes it an attractive proposition for those looking to venture into the UK property market. Importantly, opting for a UK mortgage doesn’t affect your credit score in the GCC, although it’s something that needs to be declared when applying for credit in the region.

Diverse mortgage options and loan to value

The UK mortgage scene presents a range of options, accommodating up to 75% loan to value –  often to the surprise of many investors. From interest-only mortgages that promise lower monthly payments (and thus higher rental yields) to Shariah-compliant finance important to certain clients, there are hundreds of products and options. This flexibility allows investors to either focus on capital growth, rental returns, or a combination of both, depending on their individual goals and risk appetite.

Navigating the UK mortgage process as a GCC investor

The path to securing a mortgage in the UK, while straightforward, requires planning and documentation. Overseas investors are subject to enhanced due diligence, extending the application-to-offer timeline to about 6-8 weeks.

Enness Global, specialising in securing UK mortgages for GCC investors, streamlines this process below. Or watch the full breakdown in the podcast.

Summary of the mortgage process:

– From application to offer expect 6-8 weeks due to enhanced due diligence required for overseas investors

– As a Broker, Enness Global handles everything for the client and acts as the middle man between the client and the lender

– Starts with a consultation for around an hour to establish goals, preferences, purpose for buying, risk appetite

– They will then put terms together for the client based on goals and lender options

– Once confirmed and decided on a lender and mortgage product, Enness will collect client documents such as passport copy, proof of funds etc.

– Application is submitted to the lender and valuation is instructed

– Lender will complete internal checks (6-8 weeks)

– Mortgage offer is issued

– Handed over to the solicitor to progress.

Embarking on your UK investment journey

The UK-GCC visa waiver programme which was introduced in February this year, will further smoothen the investment process, allowing for easier visits to investment properties and reinforcing the strong ties between regions.

For GCC investors intrigued by the allure of UK real estate, transactions have never been easier. Whether it’s for investment, personal use, or as a stepping stone to support your family’s future, the UK market, paired with a tailored mortgage solution, offers a gateway to rewarding investment.

About Select Property

Select Property is an award-winning UK property developer and investment partner, with a strong focus on consultation and service that delivers exceptional residential real estate properties.

Our established presence in the UAE since 2005 means we understand the bespoke needs of GCC clients, supporting them with the overseas purchase process, mortgage solutions if needed, flexible payment plans and investment consultancy. Our team of Arabic-speaking property consultants are always available.

Contact us to speak to a property consultant about how UK property could work for you. We have a range of investment opportunities in the UK’s highest performing investment cities.

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