A few weeks back you would perhaps have been singing Burns’ most famous work, Auld Lang Syne, but for a man who was voted the Greatest Scot Ever by the public in a vote in 2009, you’ll understand he has a considerable array of poems and songs to his name and is held in the very highest esteem.
But, anyway, what better day than today to be sitting down to a meal of haggis, neeps and tatties, washed down perhaps with a glass or three of whisky, and considering all things Scottish, in particular – given our industry – the property and mortgage market north of the border. That’s my evening sorted anyway.
You’ll have hopefully seen yesterday that Foundation have, for the first time, launched our entire specialist residential and buy-to-let mortgage ranges in Scotland, news which has already been met incredibly positively from those either working, or active, in the Scottish mortgage market which further supports the decision we’ve made.
The Scottish market
As someone who has been heavily involved in the launch, it has been eye-opening to see how the Scottish market is performing, and the positive focus particularly in helping those owner-occupier borrowers who might not meet the requirements of the high-street banks and helping landlords to expand their portfolios in a vibrant private rental sector.
It has also been interesting to look at the Scottish purchase process, because as you will know, it is different to that of England and Wales, and many would argue ‘better’ for it.
Indeed, given there is an ongoing debate about how we can cut out the delays and improve the process in England and Wales, many aspects of Scotland’s system including home reports, upfront conveyancer appointments, ‘blind bidding’, binding contracts, and the like, have been put forward as potential solutions.
There are other strong positives to be found in Scotland. Recent statistics show a strong focus on affordable housing there – its supply programme shows that since 2007, Scotland has completed over 102,000 affordable homes, which are much needed as they are right across the UK and allow more people to get on the ladder at a price they can afford.
Plus, Scotland has also seen strong house price growth over the last couple of years. According to the UK’s house price index, the value of an average Scottish property grew annually by a double-digit 11 per cent in the past year, up to £182,755 in November 2021.
We have looked at the Scottish market and seen a borrower demographic and adviser profession who appear made for each other, and increasingly looking for the products we offer.
Whether it’s finding mortgages for individuals with complex or unusual sources of income, professionals, or the self-employed, freelancers or contractors, as we offer via our residential range, or it’s the professional landlords seeking remortgage and purchase finance to grow their portfolios, the needs are the same.
In that sense, it is exciting to be launching there, working with new and existing partners, and putting our stamp on the Scottish mortgage market, in order to help get the right products to the right borrowers through an array of excellent advisers, packagers and distributors.
We’re at the start of our journey, but it seems fitting that we do it this week and celebrate our new beginning as all of Scotland celebrates one of its most famous sons.