The air came out of the bond bubble last month, when bond funds recorded the highest five-week outflows in three years and a half, according to capital flows data analysed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists.
The announcement by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his Autumn Statement that letting agency fees charged on tenants will be banned has been met with cries of outrage from estate agents.
Their rage is in part justified. Lately, they have been asked to do much more administrative tasks than simply running credit referencing checks. They are also supposed to check immigration papers as well, to ensure that prospective tenants have the right to be in the country in the first place.
Another trick to keep UK house prices rising is taking center stage: the extra-large mortgage. It’s the mortgage lasting half a lifetime, or more, which allows you to buy a home even if, under normal circumstances, you would not afford it.
The news that Wells Fargo, the US bank that is the world’s biggest lender by market value, targets millennials with its mortgage loans is seen as a sign that we’ve finally gotten over the crisis that nearly brought down the world economy in 2007-2009.
The Financial Times reported that the head of the bank’s home finance business said he was keen to lend more to first-time buyers, who, the paper said, have so far “put off settling down.”
But what is good for America is not necessarily good for the world. While in the US there has been some deleveraging and restructuring that allows the housing market to re-start from a cleaner basis, it is not the case in the rest of the world.
Central banks’ credibility has been eroding bit by bit for a while now, but the first evidence that the public’s expectations about inflation are disconnecting from those of the policymakers emerged on Thursday.
The European Central Bank had no choice but to launch its own quantitative easing programme in the end. The jury is still out on whether it will work – but judging by the first reactions, it could actually mark the return to some sort of normality for the eurozone.