The ultimate guide for a UK Citizen buying house in USA

In 2023, UK citizens account for 3% of total foreign residential real estate buyers in the US property market.

Uk buyers of US real estate

Get a US Mortgage as a Foreign National

No US Credit Needed

Foreign Income and Credit Accepted

Get Rate Quote

Making informed real estate decisions starts with having the right knowledge. At HomeAbroad, we offer US mortgage products for foreign nationals & investors and have a network of 500+ expert HomeAbroad real estate agents to provide the expertise you need. Our content is written by licensed mortgage experts and seasoned real estate agents who share insights from their experience, helping thousands like you. Our strict editorial process ensures you receive reliable and accurate information.

This is a definitive guide on how a citizen of the United Kingdom can buy a residential, commercial, or investment property in the USA.

According to recent trends, many British and other UK citizens consider investing in overseas property, particularly in the United States. Many factors make the US a perfect destination for buying an investment property – relatively stable real estate investment, low property valuations when compared to property prices in the US, mortgage financing option with no US credit history, and no restrictions on foreigners buying property in the US are some attractive factors, to name a few.

We will provide some key insights into UK citizens’ historical trends in US real estate transactions and some of the key insights that can help British and other UK citizens buy US property. In addition, we will guide how the US real estate and mortgage process works.

If you are a resident or a non-resident foreign national from the UK looking to buy property in the USA, this is the perfect guide for you!

Can UK citizens buy property in the United States?

Yes, UK citizens can buy property in the USA. Any non-citizen can buy a property in the United States. There are no laws or restrictions that prevent foreign nationals from owning property in the US.

In fact, they have the same rights to buy and own property in the US as US citizens do. UK citizens can also obtain a mortgage home loan financing to purchase their property in the United States, given specific criteria are met.

However, it’s important to note that you can be eligible for a mortgage without having an established US credit history. Many US-based mortgage lenders will consider alternative and innovative underwriting guidelines to offer mortgage solutions to UK citizens with no or thin US credit history.

If you want to understand more about the process of purchasing a house in the United States or working with a real estate agent who has experience with foreign property purchases, check out this definitive guide on Buying a house in the U.S. as a foreign national.   

Can a UK citizen obtain a mortgage home loan in the USA?

  • Yes, UK citizens can obtain a mortgage home loan in the USA without needing an established US credit. However, 82% of UK citizens who bought US property last year paid in all cash, primarily due to a lack of knowledge about US mortgage financing options available to them.
  • UK citizens can take advantage of mortgage home loan financing available from US lenders, which does not require a US credit history. This allows them to preserve their cash for higher-returning assets.
  • Mortgage financing also provides the benefit of higher loan terms (e.g., 30-year mortgages) with repayment in monthly installments (EMIs). This makes more financial sense, especially if the property is intended to be rented out, as rental income might cover the monthly mortgage payments and even generate positive cash flow.
  • For a detailed step-by-step process on how to obtain a US mortgage for foreign nationals with no or thin US credit history, readers can refer to the comprehensive blog on the topic.

A step-by-step process for UK citizens to buy a house in the US

Following is a step-by-step guide on the home buying process in the US for UK citizens looking to purchase  property in the USA

Step 1: Decide the US location where you want to purchase a home.

  • UK citizens have no limitations on purchasing real estate in the US.
  • This applies to both non-resident foreign investors looking for vacation or investment properties and resident foreign nationals seeking a primary residence in the US.
  • Factors to consider for UK nationals when buying a house in the US include location, community type, schools (if they have kids), and nearby amenities.
  • Non-resident international investors should conduct market research to identify the best states and areas in the USA for real estate investment.
  • They should also be aware of local regulations regarding foreign property ownership and consider property management options for rental properties.
  • By considering these factors and tips, UK citizens and non-resident investors can make well-informed decisions in the US real estate market.

Step 2: Find a real estate agent with experience in dealing with international real estate

  • The important step before purchasing a property is to locate a real estate agent with experience in international and foreign national transactions.
  • It is crucial to find a real estate agent with experience in working with foreign buyers to avoid potential mistakes and obstacles.
  • The ideal real estate agent should hold a professional accreditation such as CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist).
  • CIPS designees have received specific training to handle global transactions smoothly and safely.
  • They are qualified to work with overseas clients, including UK buyers of US real estate and foreign nationals living in the country.
  • Expert real estate agents with CIPS accreditation often speak several languages to communicate effectively with overseas clients.
  • They are knowledgeable about cultural and linguistic requirements and can help navigate local state-specific laws.

Find the best real estate agent with international expertise

Connect with a HomeAbroad real estate agent in your area.

Step 3: Partnering with an American real estate agent

Now that you have the resources to locate a real estate agent with experience in cross-border transactions let’s examine how using a real estate agent functions in the US. In your native nation, things can be different.

  • UK citizens should be prepared to execute a buyer representation contract with a real estate agent in the US.
  • Before signing, it’s important to read and comprehend the buyer representation contract carefully.
  • The seller of the property in the US pays the commission for both the buyer’s and the seller’s real estate agent.
  • When purchasing a home in the USA as a foreign resident with a real estate agent of your choice, including a CIPS realtor, there are no additional real estate agent commissions or costs.
  • Thus, you receive all the professional counsel and direction at no extra expense to you!

Step 4: Know your real estate tax situation

  • UK citizens purchasing property in the US don’t have to pay additional taxes like in some other countries.
  • Non-resident investors in US real estate are not subjected to additional taxes by the US government.
  • UK citizens using the home as their primary residence are only responsible for the property tax.
  • Non-resident buyers purchasing an investment property in the USA are required to pay taxes only on the net income generated, not on the property’s value growth.
  • UK citizens must pay property taxes on US real estate, similar to US citizens.
  • UK home buyers may have to pay additional tax duties if they rent out US real estate or sell US property for a profit.

Step 5: Begin looking for a home with the help of a real estate agent

  • The initial step is informing your real estate agent about the type of property you’re looking for.
  • If you’ve already found a home and wish to purchase it, your agent will assist you with all the closing formalities for the acquisition.
  • If you’re a resident foreign buyer and haven’t found a home yet, your real estate agent will provide you with several online options and arrange visits during open houses.
  • UK home buyers wanting to purchase property in the US will receive options showcased through images and videos online, and virtual tours can be arranged if they are not ready to travel.
  • Your real estate agent will address your inquiries about local schools, transit, leisure activities, etc.
  • Your real estate agent will inform you about the items that will remain with the homes you are viewing, such as kitchen cupboards and appliances, which typically stay with the house in the US.
  • In the United States, you typically own both the property and the house.

Step 6: To complete the purchase of your ideal home in the USA, submit an offer on the property you want.

  • After deciding on the house you want to buy, your real estate agent can provide details about recently sold nearby properties that are similar to your chosen one.
  • Based on this information, your real estate agent will advise you on what offer price to make to the seller.
  • Property list prices are negotiable, so you should rely on your specialist agent’s negotiation skills during this process.
  • Once you make your offer, the seller has three choices: they can accept, reject, or make a counteroffer with a different price.
  • If the seller accepts your offer, congratulations, you’re one step closer to owning a home in the United States!

Step 7: Performing a home inspection

  • The most crucial and final step before purchasing your new home is a home inspection.
  • While it is possible to buy a home without an inspection, it is strongly advised to do one to ensure all bases are covered.
  • During the inspection, the inspector will assess the physical condition of the house and check if all systems are functioning properly.
  • The inspector will also look for any construction flaws or damage that may need attention.
  • Your knowledgeable real estate agent can guide you through the process and provide a list of house inspectors or arrange one for you.

Step 8: Purchase agreement with the seller

  • After the home inspection, you and the seller will enter into a purchase agreement.
  • The contract of sale legally binds you to the transaction and includes the price and any other stipulations negotiated by your real estate agent.
  • At the time of the contract, you must deliver your earnest money deposit, typically between 5 and 10 percent of the sales price.
  • This deposit is held in an escrow (trust) account until the sale of the property is completed.
  • The contract of sale will also include a provision stating that you have the option to cancel the purchase if your immigration status changes or financial problems arise.

Step 9: Fill out a title report

  • The next step after signing the contract is to have a title report prepared, guided by your real estate agent.
  • An American title report will list the property’s past owners and any active liens against it.
  • The Title Report is essential as it safeguards the buyer.
  • Before the buyer can acquire ownership, the seller must clear any liens on the property.
  • When you assume possession, there will be no liens present on the property.

Step 10: Get a mortgage

  • The biggest problem UK buyers face when purchasing a house in the US is obtaining a mortgage.
  • Due to limited or no US credit history, it can be challenging for UK citizens to secure a mortgage for their home.
  • Not everyone can make an all-cash payment for the property.
  • However, there is a way for UK citizens to get US mortgages even without US credit history.
  • Contrary to popular belief, UK citizens can receive US mortgage financing without a US credit history.
  • The key is to find US lenders that specifically work with foreigners and do not require a US credit history.

If you are paying in cash, you must wait until the Title Report is finished before taking any further action.

How long does it take to purchase a home in the US?

  • For cash purchases, you can expect to receive the keys to the house approximately 30 days after signing the sales agreement.
  • If you are using financing and getting a mortgage, you may expect to take ownership about 60 days after signing the contract of sale.
  • Your real estate agent can work with you to arrange alternate dates if these timelines don’t align with your preferences.

Step 11: Get the keys to your new home in the USA.

  • On the day you take ownership, there will be numerous documents to sign.
  • The seller will execute a deed, a vital document that establishes ownership and transfers the property to you.
  • Your name will appear on the Deed, and the seller’s signature confirms the property transfer.
  • The paperwork will be notarized by a Title Closer and filed with the local government office for security.
  • The seller will provide you with the keys on the day of ownership or closing, allowing you to move in at your convenience.

Documents required for British citizens to apply for a US mortgage

The following is a list of documents that both permanent and non-permanent British citizens in the US need for obtaining a mortgage:

Permanent Residents:

If you hold a Green Card and are now a permanent US resident, you will require:

  • W-2 forms for the past two years (equivalent to a UK P60)
  • “Pay stub” from the prior month (payslip)

Non Permanent Residents:

If you have a resident visa but no green card and are residing in the US, you will require:

  • W-2 form from last year (if applicable).
  • Your pay stub from the prior month.
  • A copy of your passport and visa.
  • Bank statements over the last three months.
  • Your UK credit report, in copy.
  • The most recent mortgage statement for each UK property you own.

Steps for UK Citizens to Get Mortgage in the USA

For foreigners or UK citizens without US credit histories, the process to get a mortgage in the US is as follows. It also describes how a borrower from a foreign country would view the US mortgage process:

Step 1: Calculate your financial capacity. How much house can you afford?

  • When seeking home finance in the USA as a UK citizen, the first consideration is your maximum manageable monthly payment rather than the home purchase price.
  • Mortgage lenders use two main techniques to determine your maximum monthly payment: the front-end ratio and the back-end ratio.
  • The front-end ratio considers all housing expenses, including homeowner’s association dues and property taxes.
  • The back-end ratio, on the other hand, does not include these additional expenditures.
  • When determining how much house you can afford, keep in mind the following elements of your monthly payment:
    • Principal and interest on a mortgage.
    • Real estate tax (placed in an escrow account to pay real estate taxes).
    • Homeowners insurance premiums.
    • Homeowners association fees and charges (if applicable).

Step 2: Acquire a mortgage Pre-approval for your mortgage as a UK citizen.

  • As a UK citizen purchasing a home in the US for living or investment purposes, there are home-financing options available to match your needs.
  • Some US mortgage lenders specialize in providing mortgage loans for foreign nationals.
  • These lenders assess your credit risk using non-traditional data points, including your credit history outside the US.
  • Whether you intend to live in the US or use the property as an investment, these lenders can offer suitable financing solutions for UK citizens.
HomeAbroad mortgage CTA
  • Before beginning your home search, obtaining pre-approval for a mortgage loan from a foreign country provides assurance about the amount your lender is willing to loan you.
  • Real estate agents will take you more seriously if they know your goals upfront, as they can see that you are a serious buyer with a clear financial plan.
  • With pre-approval, agents may allocate more time to potential buyers genuinely interested in the property.
  • Sellers are reassured by pre-approved buyers, as it demonstrates seriousness and financial capability, potentially leading to less risk for sellers during negotiations.

Step 3: Prepare your paperwork for a mortgage as a UK citizen.

To get pre-approval for your foreign mortgage loan, you will often need documentation to verify three things:

  1. Identification Verification:
    • Passport photocopy
    • A valid U.S. visa (unless the nation participates in the Visa Waiver Program)
  2. Income Statements:
    • Proof of income that demonstrates your ability to make mortgage payments on the new home
    • Employment documents and contact details
  3. Proof of Assets:
    • Documentation showing assets, such as stocks or savings accounts, that can cover the down payment on the overseas property purchase

Additionally, international clients will need to provide the following documents:

Step 4: Look around for a house and submit an offer

  • With pre-approval for an international mortgage in hand, it’s time for the exciting part – house hunting!
  • The first step is to find a reliable and experienced real estate agent who specializes in international real estate deals.
  • Look for agents who hold the CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) title in the US. CIPS real agents go through specialized training in working with foreign nationals.
  • During your house hunting in the United States, your real estate agent will help you find the ideal home.
  • Once you’ve selected a property, it’s time to submit an offer, and your real estate agent will assist in structuring the offer and including any necessary conditions before finalizing the transaction.
  • To purchase a house in the US, you’ll draft an agreement with your real estate agent that covers your offer to buy the property and any items inside the home that you wish to include in the sale.
  • After submitting the offer, you will make an earnest money deposit, typically a portion of the purchase price, to demonstrate your intent to buy. This deposit is paid to the seller.

Step 5: Complete your application for a foreign mortgage loan.

Starting the Mortgage Application:

  • Once you’ve formalized your offer with a purchase agreement and finalized the loan parameters, you’re ready to begin the mortgage application with a lender specializing in foreign national US mortgages.

Mortgage Considerations:

  • Take into account the various types of mortgages available.
  • Compare the rates of each mortgage option.
  • Choose the amount of the down payment.
  • Select the duration of the loan period.

Completing Paperwork:

  • Although some application paperwork may have been completed during preapproval, you’ll need to gather additional documents as explained in Step 3 above.
  • The loan officials will require further information about your debts, assets, credit, and income.

Loan Estimate:

  • Your loan officer is required to provide you with a Loan Estimate within three business days of submitting your application.
  • The Loan Estimate gives you an overview of the conditions of your loan and the closing fees, also known as closing charges or expenditures, to complete your mortgage transaction.
  • With this information, you can assess the terms of your mortgage loan offer and explore different options before accepting it.
  • For a thorough explanation of the loan estimate and the charges associated with the mortgage procedure in the US, you can refer to our guide “Mortgage Loan Estimate: All You Need to Know.”

Step 6: Fix the interest rate on your mortgage loan.

  • Mortgage rates in the US fluctuate daily based on the bond market.
  • You can lock your mortgage rate to guarantee that your interest rate remains the same until the loan is closed.
  • Your loan officer can assist you in locking down a rate.
  • If you need house finance in the United States and have accepted the loan estimate from the lender, it’s advisable to consider locking in your interest rate.

Step 7: Processing and underwriting for mortgage Loans

Loan Processing:

  • Once you accept and sign the Loan Estimate, the loan processing will begin.
  • You will work with a loan processor whose responsibility is to gather all your mortgage loan details and prepare the application for submission to the underwriter.
  • The loan processor ensures that all the required paperwork is included in the submission to expedite the approval process.

Mortgage Underwriting:

  • The mortgage underwriter is the expert responsible for determining whether you qualify for the mortgage loan based on the lender’s underwriting standards.
  • During the underwriting process, the underwriter assesses your income, assets, employment, and other relevant information related to your mortgage application.
  • The underwriter will decide whether to approve or deny the loan based on the evaluation.
  • If additional information is needed to make this determination, the underwriter may request it.

Step 8: Perform a property appraisal.

House Appraisal:

  • During the underwriting process, your lender will analyze the house appraisal report created by a real estate appraiser at the lender’s request.
  • The real estate appraiser’s role is to assess the value of the property you are buying, known as its fair market value.
  • Appraisers use various methods, including comparing it to recently sold comparable properties in the area, to estimate the home’s value.
  • The appraisal ensures that the residence is worth the agreed-upon price, protecting both the buyer and the lender.

Appraisal Results and Options:

  • If the appraisal results are lower than your sales price, you have three options:
    1. Offer to pay the difference between the appraisal value and the sales price.
    2. Renegotiate with the seller to reach an agreement on a revised price.
    3. Walk away from the purchase if the purchase agreement has an appraisal clause that allows you to do so.

Step 9: Get ready for the closing.

Closing Day:

  • Congratulations, the challenging underwriting process is complete, and closing day is finally here!
  • To the settlement table, bring your photo ID, a copy of your Closing Disclosure, any other relevant paperwork, and all required funds.
  • Taking possession of your new home in the USA, which will be YOUR HOUSE, has now been completed.

Closing Disclosure:

  • Your loan officer or processor should provide you with a copy of the closing disclosure at least 3 business days before your closing date.
  • This document details the precise monetary amounts you will pay for different closing-related costs and services.

Becoming a US Homeowner:

  • If everything goes smoothly, you’ll sign all the necessary paperwork, receive the keys, and presto; you’re a US homeowner!

How much US real estate is purchased by UK citizens every year?

  • According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the United Kingdom was among the top five foreign buyers of US real estate, accounting for 4% of foreign buyers (approximately $2.7B) for April 2020-March 2021.
  • Over the last 12 years (2010-2021), UK real estate buyers of US properties purchased an average of $6 billion worth of US real estate (existing home sales), with an average of 10,500 units purchased per year.
  • The dollar value of UK real estate transactions from foreign national buyers rose to $2.7B, marking a staggering 93% increase from the prior year. This increase is primarily attributed to a higher number of units purchased and higher average purchase prices.
  • Notably, existing home purchases by UK citizens would likely have been even higher if cross-border travel restrictions were not imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Below is the table for the historical trends in dollar volume and the number of existing home purchases by United Kingdom (UK) nationals in US real estate:

Table of Historical Trend for US Existing Home Purchase by UK Citizens

YEAR# Units Purchased$ (In Billions)
201027,100$12.1B
201114,800$6.5B
201212,400$4.4B
20139,400$4.1B
201411,600$5.8B
20158,300$3.8B
20169,200$5.5B
201712,900$9.6B
20189,000$7.3B
20195,200$3.8B
20202,900$1.4B
20213,800$2.7B
Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)

Pro Tip: When you are ready to buy a house in the US, you should ideally work with a real estate agent who has expertise in working with foreign national clients, such as a real estate agent with CIPS designation. 

A CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) real estate agent has undergone specialized training to handle real estate transactions smoothly for foreign-born individuals residing in the US.

Where do UK Citizens buy property in the US?

Florida remained the top choice for UK citizens, with 44% of all UK national purchases last year (Apr’ 20-Mar’21) taking place in the state. That said, other popular destinations included Virginia (21%), New Jersey (12%), Texas (7%), Georgia (6%).

Major US Destinations for Foreign Buyers from United Kingdom (UK)

US DestinationPercentage of UK Buyers
Florida44%
Virginia21%
New Jersey12%
Texas7%
Georgia6%
Pennsylvania5%
North Carolina3%
Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)
H1 B visa lottery results

45% of UK citizens buy their US property in a suburban or resort area, while the remaining 55% purchase in rural or urban/central city areas.

Location preference for UK citizens buying property in the US
Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)

How do UK Citizens intend to use their US property?

  • In 2021, most foreign buyers, including citizens of the UK, purchased properties for use as vacation homes, rental properties, or both.
  • This trend saw a slight increase compared to 2020.
  • The rise in demand for vacation homes during the pandemic can be attributed to people seeking safety, recreation, and the opportunity to work from home in these properties.
  • Similarly, slightly more than half of the United Kingdom buyers also purchased properties for vacation home purposes, rentals, or both uses.
  • A significant fraction of UK buyers also opted to buy a property for use as a primary residence, while a smaller portion bought properties for student use.

US Property Use by foreign buyers from UK

Property UsePercentage (%)
Vacation Home22%
Rental Property25%
Vacation and Rental5%
Primary Residence38%
Student use9%
Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)
US Property Use by foreign buyers from UK
Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)
  • As mentioned above, UK citizens primarily purchase properties for vacation homes and/or rental purposes.
  • Consequently, a fair percentage of United Kingdom buyers opted for detached single-family homes or townhouses.
H1 B Visa Lottery Results
Source: NAR

Buying a property in the United States – cheaper or more expensive than the United Kingdom?

  • Property prices in the United Kingdom have been on a steady rise since 2013, increasing by 10% annually.
  • When comparing UK property prices to those in the USA, it is generally cheaper to buy real estate in many US metro areas, especially when compared to the central regions of global cities.
  • For instance, the price per square meter of a property in London, UK, is $26,262, whereas in Florida, it’s $3,590; in Texas, it’s $2,620; in North Carolina, it’s $2,070, and in Arizona, it’s $2,230.
  • The US property prices have also seen an increase year over year due to the rise of remote work culture and a shift away from big cities. However, overall, it remains more affordable than key metro cities in the UK.

Following is a table that shows the Median Home Price and the price per square meter of the major US metros.

US Metro City Home Prices Compared to UK
Source: NAR

What is the median and average purchase price of the houses in the US purchased by UK citizens?

During Apr’ 20-Mar’21, the median purchase price for US real estate bought by UK citizens was $366,600, and the average purchase price was $718,800.

The median purchase price was relatively flat, while the average price was significantly higher compared to the same period last year.

Table of the historical trend for Median and Average Purchase Prices of US Real Estate by UK Citizens

YearMedian Purchase PriceAverage Purchase Price
2010$315,000$447,100
2011$325,000$438,900
2012$266,700$355,900
2013$250,000$440,800
2014$325,000$499,200
2015$200,000$455,600
2016$427,300$598,200
2017$329,400$741,900
2018$396,200$806,300
2019$510,700$738,700
2020$361,200$495,200
2021$366,600$718,800
Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR)

Can UK citizens obtain a US Green Card through property ownership in the United States?

  • UK citizens can obtain a US Green Card through property ownership in the United States, specifically through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
  • There are two programs within EB-5: the Basic Program, where the investor actively participates in the investment, and the Regional Center Program, where the investor partners with a USCIS-approved regional center. 
  • Benefits of obtaining a Green Card through real estate investment include permanent residency for the investor, their spouse, and unmarried children under 21, access to affordable education in the US, and eligibility to apply for US citizenship after maintaining permanent residency for at least five years. 
  • The process is complex and requires meeting specific requirements and legal procedures, so it is recommended to consult with an immigration attorney or expert for guidance. 
  • Green card holders and US residents have access to mortgage financing options similar to US citizens, such as FHA loans and conventional loans offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 
  • Mortgage applications as green card holders require documentation including the green card, proof of income, credit history, employment history, and bank statements. Specific documentation requirements may vary depending on the lender.  

For a comprehensive understanding of the process to obtain an Investment Green Card through the EB-5 Visa, refer to the guide: EB5 Visa: How to get Investment Green Card 

Tax implications for UK buyers of US real estate

Taxation for UK Foreign Nationals in the USA:

  • A non-resident foreign national from the UK must pay taxes on any income earned in the US, including income from their property, such as rental income.
  • Foreign nationals from the UK are subject to a 30% tax rate on their income, but this rate can be reduced or exempted if a tax treaty exists between the UK and the USA.
  • Fortunately, a Tax Treaty does exist between the UK and the USA, allowing foreign nationals to prevent double taxation and potentially reduce the withholding tax on their income.

US Tax Identification Number:

  • To benefit from the Tax Treaty, foreign nationals must have a US tax identification number, which can be either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

Treating Property Income:

  • UK citizens can choose how their property income will be treated for tax purposes. For instance, they can choose to effectively connect their property income with a trade or business in the USA.
  • To implement this choice, a taxpayer must fill out the W-8ECI form and provide it to the person who pays the rent.

Filing Tax Returns:

  • The foreign national must timely file a 1040NR tax return to remove expenses taxed on their net income.
  • Filing for a 1040NR requires foreign nationals to have an ITIN.

Tax implications for U.K. Citizens selling their U.S. Property

Tax Withholding on Property Sale:

  • When non-resident foreign nationals sell real estate property in the USA, 10% of the gross sale price will be withheld from the IRS under the Foreign Investment Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA).

Capital Gains Tax:

  • Capital gains tax is levied on the net profit received through the sale of a capital asset, such as real estate property.

Tax Deferral Strategies:

  • The USA offers capital tax deferral strategies, allowing your money to grow tax-deferred. Taxes are not paid until you take a withdrawal.
  • Foreign nationals from the UK can benefit from three tax deferral strategies while selling their property in the USA.

Capital Gain Tax Deferral for Foreign Real Estate Investors

1031 Exchange

A 1031 Exchange essentially allows real estate investors to exchange a property for another of equal or more excellent value. It helps investors sell their property without paying taxes on their capital gains. This exchange is valid only when the value of the replacement property is equal to or higher than the value of the property being sold, i.e., re-investments should be made in properties having the same character as the one being sold.

Installment Sales

This strategy allows you to defer tax until later years when the buyer of your property makes payments in installments plus interest. This method accounts for when revenue and expenses are recognized at the time of cash collection rather than at sale. This strategy will be valid when a part of the payment is received next year following the sale.

Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ)

Any individual or business property investor can opt for this strategy. A simple way to know if you can choose this way of tax deferral is to check if the community where you have invested in your property has been classified as QOZ or not. You can be eligible for this method by investing in QOZ through a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF). To be entitled to this method, you need specific requirements first, like the capital gain must be invested within 180 days of the sale of the property being sold.

In Conclusion

Investing in property in a foreign country can seem like a mammoth task at first. However, this can become a seamless experience with the right advice and guidance. In this blog, we have shared some essential information and things to keep in mind to help make buying your American property a more seamless experience.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Can a U.K. citizen buy a house in the USA?

    Yes, UK citizens can buy and own property in the USA, regardless of citizenship. This applies to both resident and non-resident foreign nationals.

  2. Do foreigners pay property taxes?

    Foreign nationals are required to pay property taxes similar to any domestic buyer.

  3. Can Irish Nationals buy a house in the USA?

    Yes, Irish Nationals can buy and own property in the USA. This guide explains the process for UK citizens buying property in the USA, including nationals from Ireland.

  4. Can Scottish Nationals buy a home in the USA?

    Yes, Scottish Nationals are citizens of the United Kingdom and can buy and own property in the USA, regardless of their citizenship. This guide explains the process for UK citizens buying property in the USA, including nationals from Scotland.

  5. Can British Nationals buy a house in the USA?

    Yes, British Nationals are citizens of the UK and can buy and own property in the USA, irrespective of their citizenship/residency status in the US. This guide explains the process for UK citizens buying property in the USA, including nationals from Great Britain.

  6. Does buying property in the USA give you residency?

    Unfortunately, just by purchasing a house in the USA, you do not qualify an individual to acquire residency. If you want to gain residency in the USA, you will have to either pursue an E-2 Investor Visa (if you are interested in setting up a business in the States) or follow the EB-5 program.

  7. How long can you stay in the U.S. if you own property?

    Solely based on buying a house in the USA, you are not granted any additional perks like acquiring residency. Once you have entered the USA on a Visitor/Business (B1/B2 Visa), you can stay up to six months. Other visa statuses have different stay durations.

  8. Are houses cheaper in America than in the UK?

    Yes, houses are much cheaper in America than in the UK; the price per sq meter of a home in the UK is $26,262, while it is $17,191 in America. (Source-NAR report on International transactions in US residential real estate 2022). With the remote work culture and emigration from big cities, US real estate values have climbed yearly estate values in the US have risen year over year. It is still less expensive than major UK metropolises, though.

  9. Can a UK Citizen get a mortgage in the US?

    YES, UK citizens can get a mortgage in the US. The process is really simple.
    Here is a guide: How to Get US Mortgage for UK Citizens?

About the author:
Michele Lawrie, a seasoned real estate professional licensed in New York and Florida, serves as the Chief Real Estate Officer at HomeAbroad. With over 15 years of experience and specialized certifications from the NAR (National Association of Realtors), Michele is a trusted expert for foreign nationals buying US real estate.

"Democratizing US real estate for the world with our tailored offerings."

ON THIS PAGE
Jump to