Newsletter August 2015

Scottish Housing Market Shows Strong Signs of Growth

New figures released from Registers of Scotland (RoS), show a 3.5% increase in property prices during the second quarter of this year compared to the similar period last year.During the months of April to June, average property prices in Scotland witnessed an all time high of £167,765. Such strong growth in the property market during the first half of 2015 paints an encouraging picture, and conditions post referendum have strengthened market confidence for sellers and buyers alike.

Such thriving conditions are clearly evident, none more so than within the City of Edinburgh, which recorded the largest average house price of £237,286, a jump of 4.4% when compared to the previous quarter.

The Future Looks Bright for First Time Buyer Mortgages 

First time buyers are beginning to finally make their mark on the property ladder after long periods of frustration and settle into the housing market.The First Time Buyer Review released from Halifax show they now make up approximately 47% of all mortgage financed house purchases. A count of the number of first time buyers reached a total of 139,000 in the first quarter of 2015, although a slight reduction compared to 2014, it reveals the second largest figure for the first six months of the year since 2007. It also shows an overwhelming 92% increase compared to the numbers noted during the half way point of 2009 (72,700).

This is certainly good news for the industry as a whole. It shows the strong willingness of individuals to purchase their first home and lenders increasing appetite to lend in this sector.

Company News

With record numbers of nominations, we are delighted to announce that Mobeen Akram and James Hutchison were successful in winning their respective categories at the British Mortgage Awards 2015. Mobeen winning the Best Broker – New Build and James the Best Broker – First Time Buyer award. A big well done to them both!This is a tremendous result for the company and shows the industry is recognising First Mortgage as a market leader in these fields. Managing Director Ian McGrail commented: “Receiving these awards is such an honour for all those concerned at First Mortgage. It is a testament to the strong advisory team we have in place, together with our strong values and customer focus. We’re extremely proud of James and Mobeens’ fantastic achievements, which were very well deserved for their commitment to their customers, this business and the industry.”
Month on month has seen has steady increase in the number of mortgage cases completed. This is despite the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) downgrading its forecast for 2015 from £220bn to £209bn. It is also in stark contrast to the Legal and General Mortgage Club, which saw an increase of 12%, whereas First Mortgage is up by 37%. Jeremy Duncombe, Director of Legal and General Mortgage Club said: “it shows how much the market is moving towards the intermediary business, now accounting for over 70% of the market, compared to 55% in 2013.” 

Meet the Advisor

For this month’s edition, we caught up with Kevin Hamill, Branch Manager at our newly opened branch in Kirkcaldy. With new additions to our spotlight questions, read on to hear what the man himself has to say.
Tell us about your job and what’s involved on a typical day?My typical day starts with coming into the office at around 8:30, listening to music and responding to emails till 9. Thereafter its meeting clients throughout the day, explaining how myself, First Mortgage and buying a house works. When meeting clients, it’s my responsibility to identify and recommend the best solutions and mortgages to clients and getting these approved. When it come to finalising the clients mortgage and protection requirements, I take 1 hour to ensure I am fully prepared and ready for the meeting and then present my recommendations to the clients.

What previous roles and experiences led you to your current position?

I have now been working for First Mortgage for over 7 years and started in the company aged 22 as Sales Support to the Dundee Office. Previous to this I worked as a Sales Assistant at Dunfermline Building Society. I was sales support for almost 3 years before deciding to complete my CMAP exams and 1 year after I was up and running as a mortgage advisor with First Mortgage. Since then I have never looked back and have now relocated from Dundee to the new office in Kirkcaldy, where I was delighted to be appointed branch manager.

What do you like most about this company?

The support the company has given me over the years. I was always encouraged to progress and was pushed in right direction by Wendy and Ian to move from the Sales Support role to mortgage advisor. First Mortgage have continued to help me improve throughout the 3 years I have been an advisor and still provide support when I need it. I also love that Ian is a keen golfer and annually has golf days out at amazing courses!

What do you consider the key challenges for the mortgage industry this year?  

Continuing to try and change the public perception that buying a house is difficult, complicated and expensive.

 Who’s been your greatest hero in business?     

Bill Gates, he revolutionised the computer industry having started with nothing.

What’s on your desk?      

My computer and phone plus a photo book of my two children, Liam and Charlie.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone?

Always be confident in yourself. If you can’t, then how can others be confident in you?

If you could be a superhero for a day with unlimited powers, what would you use them for and why?

I would love to be able to read people’s mind and I would use it in day to day life when meeting with clients to make sure when you ask ‘do you have any credit commitments’ or ‘have you had any credit issues’ that they were telling the truth!

What’s your favourite gadget?

My iPad, anyone that knows me knows I am a complete technophobe, however I could not live without the iPad now, it’s my 2nd wife!!

What did want to be when you were a child?

When I very young, I wanted to be an Asda checkout assistant (because of all the money they handled) and as I got a little bit older, I wanted to be an accountant (because of the money I thought they earned). How sad is that!!

Who’s your favourite musician/band?

Aqua and the Vengaboys!! Seriously it would probably be Artic Monkeys or The Strokes.

What was the worst piece of advice you’ve been given?

‘Have children….it’s easy!’

Who is your current mortgage with?


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