Global Mortgage Group eyes international mortgage market

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
Donald Kilp (left) and Robert Chadwick, co-founders of Global Mortgage Group (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Between April 2021 and March this year, foreign nationals purchased about US$59 billion ($83 billion) worth of homes in the US, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors. The report also shows that almost half (44%) of foreign buyers paid for their purchases fully in cash. The figure is even higher for foreign buyers who do not reside in the US. Of this pool, about 60% paid in cash, rather than using a mortgage.
For Donald Klip and Robert Chadwick, co-founders of Singapore-based Global Mortgage Group, this represents a vast untapped market. “Anywhere in the world, over 90% of home purchases are made with a mortgage. But that’s not the case when foreign nationals buy US property,” Klip says.
This is because it is difficult for those not residing in the US to obtain a mortgage due to stringent bank requirements, the co-founders say. “A lot of people won’t qualify because of things like not having a US credit profile or the banks not recognising income earned overseas,” Chadwick explains.

Tailored loan plans

To that end, Global Mortgage aims to offer a solution — the company, via its wholly-owned US subsidiary, America Mortgages, provides a platform for investors residing outside of the US to obtain a US mortgage to finance the purchase of American property.
America Mortgages acts as a broker between its clients and wholesale lenders in the US, helping to tailor loan programmes that cater to non-US residents, including both US expatriates and foreign nationals.
With their services, foreign national clients are able to obtain up to 75% of financing for a property in the US through a simplified qualification process. “We just need a letter from their employer or their accountant [if they are self-employed] that states the last two years of income, up to the current year to date,” says Chadwick, who is also America Mortgages’ CEO.
Loan amounts start from US$150,000, with term options starting from five years and going up to 30 years. Interest rates on the mortgages are in the low 7% range for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, regardless of the age of the borrower, says Chadwick. He adds that clients can usually get a mortgage within 30 to 45 days and that the process is done fully remotely, without the client having to venture to the US.
Outside the US, Global Mortgage also offers mortgage solutions to foreign buyers for properties in other parts of the world, such as the UK, Canada and Australia. Nonetheless, US loans make up the bulk of the mortgages it facilitates.

Business expansion

Global Mortgage was founded not long after Klip and Chadwick — both American citizens who had relocated to Singapore — met in 2017. Chadwick, who has a background in US mortgage lending, and Klip, a former hedge fund manager, soon saw an opportunity to become a US mortgage broker based out of Asia, catering to foreign borrowers.
While the venture initially started off as a hobby, it soon gained traction. In 2019, the pair secured seed funding from Korean start-up accelerator Sparklabs and other investors. Since then, the company has expanded its reach, setting up offices in cities including Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul. Today, it has a team of about 45 people globally.
Global Mortgage has also expanded its product offering. Beyond its core offering in international mortgages, it now also offers bridging loans that are largely targeted at high-net-worth individuals and accredited investors. “This is a big push that we are embarking on in Singapore,” says Klip.
He explains that the product allows clients to tap liquidity quickly in order to finance real estate transactions. “For example, if someone needs to put a downpayment on a property while waiting for a better price before selling his existing home, it’s a very effective tool,” he adds. The loans have a minimum amount of $1 million and typically have a duration of between 12 and 36 months. Interest rates for the loans typically start from 7% and can be processed within three days on average, says Chadwick.

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