Way back in November 2008 I was engaged in an interesting conversation about the parlous state of the mortgage world and enjoying a coffee with a friendly WSCT manager, when I inadvertently agreed to write a weekly column specifically geared to the mortgage market and its impact both locally and generally.
Who would have thought that four years later I would still be writing it, the paper would still be publishing it and more importantly, you are still reading it!
As I reach the 200th column milestone, it is fair to say that it has been an enjoyable and rewarding task enabling me to express a personal view of the mechanics as well as the financial issues which affect us all in our everyday lives. Sometimes not for the fainthearted, it has to be said, but hopefully useful nevertheless.
The last four years has seen seismic change in the mortgage sector and this has included a high street lender or two hitting the wall in late 2008.
Since then I have commented on detail including a dip, a double dip and even the possibility of a triple dip recession.
None of us have any firm indication either way on the latter at the moment!
We have seen times when mortgage availability was so limited that we were almost back to the days my father sometimes refers to when mortgages were rationed and you had to have sufficient savings with a lender simply to gain an interview!
Lenders have come, lenders have gone.
Quantitative easing, Swap rates, LIBOR Rates, Funding for Lending and many other ‘jargon’ titled mortgage terms have been regular features in my articles.
In more recent times we have seen a gradual increase in mortgage product availability and more so in product innovation designed to help gaps in the market.
These have included niche First Time Buyer products and the dramatic increase in Bridging Finance.
In the last few weeks I have been able to report on the fantastic rate price war in all areas of the market, which now proudly boasts over 4,000 products.
Still some way to go from the boom time of 07, but the light at the end of the tunnel may no longer be the headlights of an oncoming train!
On reflection, the last four years has been a roller coaster ride in the mortgage marketplace and I envisage that there may still be a rocky ride ahead but with a more positive outlook than at any time during that period.
I look forward to continuing to report on developments as they occur and I hope that 2013 will bring further competitiveness within the mortgage sector.
This can only be of huge benefit to the end consumer.
Finally, for this article at least, thank you to the WSCT for printing my column each week and an even bigger thank you to you for taking interest in them.
Here’s to the next 200!
Dale Jannels - AToM director