As I pen my 300th column for the paper, I do wonder where the years have gone and what a totally different market we are now in compared to my first column in 2008! In fact, that actual column highlighted the 'stormy waters ahead' and that 'this would be a journey we wouldn't forget in a hurry'. What I, like most, didn't realise is that seven years on, we would still be in such a financial retraction!
However, the positives are that we are in the midst of a very competitive high street price war which has just seen a high street lender launch a sub 2% five year fixed rate deal. This will spur on further reaction over the coming days.
We've also seen lenders looking at assisting those with just a 5% deposit and having minimal or very small fees, to help First Time Buyers and Next Movers.
We're also seeing lenders look at criteria to attract business, rather than just a low rate. This could be a key part of the mortgage market moving forward. A huge number of people will be ignored by computer technology and credit scoring decision making systems. But this does not mean they should not obtain mortgage finance, it just means they don't meet all of the rules entered to make that particular decision!
I often wonder if we are on the way back to as it was in 2007/8. Rates couldn't go much lower then either and criteria played a huge part. Fast forward to today and again rates can't get much lower and lenders are looking at gaps in the market where a criteria change or tweak might give them the competitive edge.
However this time, we also have a housing shortage problem. The demand for houses is outstripping supply and this could lead to an increase in house prices. First Time Buyers are already finding it tough enough without the additional stress of a lack of properties. Let's hope someone is looking at addressing this issue and has a balanced approach to the market.
Which leaves one last thought - I wonder what the market will look like in another 300 articles time?