Archive for December, 2011

First-time buyers saving for longer

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

High north-east housing costs means the average age of first-time buyers in Aberdeen and the north-east is higher than in most other parts of the country.

The average age of first-time property buyers in Scotland may be lower than in other parts of the UK, but it’s a different story in the north-east because prices are forcing young people to remain with their parents for longer.

The need for first-time buyers to find bigger deposits before they are considered by lenders for a mortgage, has meant they are having to wait longer as they save up.

In Aberdeen, where house prices are higher than in other parts of Scotland, the wait to gain a foothold on the property ladder is longer and while the Scottish average is 27-years-old, it is 30 and older in the Granite City and the surrounding area.

A recent survey revealed that areas with the youngest first time buyers are also those where housing affordability conditions are the most favourable. Nine of the ten local areas with the youngest buyers have an average house price to average earnings ratio for first time buyers below 4.
In the ten areas with the oldest first time buyers, six were where the average first time buyer price is above the Scotland average of  £105,401. These are Edinburgh at 37%, Moray at 7%, Highland at 12%, Aberdeenshire at 28%, East Lothian at 47% and East Renfrewshire at 28%.
Those who have managed to buy a property within the last two to three years, tend to have been helped financially by their parents or other members of the family.

However, there are a sizeable number who simply have to stay at home and save longer and harder for their start. What this means is that the one and two-bed flat market is also sticking with owners who purchased prior to the credit crunch finding it more difficult to sell and climb the ladder.

The result is that the letting market, particularly for central, one-bedroom flats, is booming and that properties of that size are difficult to come by. When they do become available for lease, they are normally snapped-up within a few days.

There are still 90% and 95% mortgages around but the conditions attached to them are stringent.

For further information contact Brian Sutton on 01224 581581, alternatively via email:

“Three Gold Rings …”

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

At this festive time of year the negative effects of taxation will be far from your mind, but you should be aware that the clock is ticking when it comes to planning for a more tax-efficient New Year for you and your nearest and dearest.

Whether it is Income Tax (50% maximum rate of tax), Capital Gains Tax (28% maximum) or Inheritance Tax (40% maximum), if you do not take positive steps to ensure you are making maximum use of all the options available to you in relation to tax planning, you will find that HMRC may be the one that gets the biggest present in 2012.

By undertaking a full review of your financial circumstances, with proper regard given to your own goals and objectives, it is possible to ensure that you do not pay more tax than is necessary, protect capital growth, protect assets from the effects of long term care costs and ensure that you safeguard your future legacy to family and those closest to you.

In most cases the answers to many peoples taxation concerns are relatively straightforward, but even where they are not, our highly qualified, experienced consultants – working alongside our colleagues on the legal side of James & George Collie – will be able to provide you with a solution tailored specifically to your needs.

So why not give yourself a great present this Christmas, and make an appointment to meet one of our fully independent (and jolly!) Financial Consultants in the New Year.

To arrange an appointment please call Holly Smith on 01224 581581, or e-mail her on

Christmas Cheer

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

In the run up to Christmas shopkeepers and publicans, hoteliers and restrauteurs will be working flat out to ensure that we all have a fantastic time whether  we go out to celebrate with workmates and colleagues or decide to stay in with family and friends. Most of us enjoy a wee drink at this time of year, even those amongst us who do not normally indulge. Why not? It’s Christmas time.

If you are 25 or under or are with someone looking 25 or under all of the licensees above are likely to ask  for age identification. Why? Because the Scottish Government has decided that all persons selling or serving alcohol need to be sure that the person buying alcohol or for whom alcohol is being bought is over the age of 18. Challenge 25 means that any person who as they say “Is lucky enough to look under 25” can b e asked to prove their age by reference to approved forms of identification. These are a current passport or EU photo driver’s licence or a Young Scot or Citizen Card bearing the PASS hologram card. Many of us have passports and driver’s licences however these documents, if they are lost or stolen on a night out, are very expensive to replace. A passport is £77.50 or £112.50 for fast track service and £20.00 for a replacement driver’s licence. Money which is better in your pockets than in those of the civil service!

A Young Scot card or entitlement card is however free. Many of you or your children will already have one as they have been issued through most schools for the last few years. It may of course be the time to check to see whether the photograph resembles the carrier because if it does not service of alcohol will be refused.

If you or your family  have left school, you can apply to get a free card from your local council.

Aberdeen City Young Scot –, 01224 538003
Aberdeenshire Dialogue Youth –, 0845 608 1200
Dundee, 01382 433030
Young Scot – –, 0808 801 0338

The great thing about the Young Scot Entitlement  card is the discounts at over 1,400 outlets around Scotland. Check out the discounts section for a full list of discounts. It is also part of the European Youth Card Network which means you could get over 100,000 discounts in 42 countries. Check out to find the discounts available in other countries. So it’s worth encouraging persons 26 and under to get a card.

One of the questions often asked by parents is “Can I buy son/daughter a drink when we are out?” The answer is Yes but only if the child is 16 or 17 years old,  is having a meal and if the premises manager so  permits.  Persons aged 16 and 17 can no longer buy a drink for themselves when they are having a meal.

For licensing queries, please contact Anthony Dawson or Janet Hood on 01224 581581