Monday, December 5 2022

A lot has changed since 1997, when the average cost of a house was just £56,199. Prices have now climbed to nearly five times that value.

But one thing has remained constant over the past 25 years – the presence of mortgage agent Ian Wilson in Kettering town centre.

He opened The Mortgage Store in Gold Street on Valentine’s Day in 1997 and is celebrating now, having spent a quarter of a century helping local families secure mortgages.

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Ian Wilson.

When he started, annual earnings were around £16,500 which, despite soaring house prices, barely more than doubled. Ian said this highlights the difficulties young people currently face in accessing the property ladder. The only saving grace is interest rates significantly lower than in 1997, when the Bank of England rate peaked at 7.25 per cent.

Ian said he remembers flipping through a book of mortgage rates when advising clients in the pre-internet days, when applications were all on paper and sent by fax.

He said the whole process seemed to take forever, and he certainly doesn’t yearn for a return to the days when technology revolutionized the mortgage market.

The mortgage broker still relishes the opportunity to meet his clients in person – and 25 years after he started, he still loves his job just as much.

He said: “I can honestly say that I still really enjoy what I do.

“I may not particularly enjoy the paperwork, but the actual work of giving advice and arranging people’s mortgages always appeals to me.

“I think I’m really lucky from that point of view. A lot of people don’t like their jobs.”

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Ian took part in some serious adventures, such as hiking to Everest Base Camp, climbing Kilimanjaro and the UK Three Peaks Challenge for baby charity. He added that he looked forward to participating in future challenges to stay fit and healthy for the next 25 years.

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