Some interesting action over the weekend: in a foretaste of this week’s EU elections, Greece’s leftist, anti-bailout Syriza party performed strongly in the first round of local elections on Sunday, capitalizing on voter anger at ongoing government austerity policies.
If it did even better in the EU polls it could threaten the ruling coalition and tip Greece back into turmoil just as there are signs that it has turned the corner.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney sounded dramatically more alarmed about Britain’s housing market, saying it posed the biggest risk to the economy and harboured deep structural problems.
There can now be little doubt that the Bank will use new powers to try and rein the market in, particularly in London, when its Financial Policy Committee meets next month. Carney’s concern prompted Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to say the government might have to rein in its “help to buy” scheme which aims to get more people on the property ladder.
Among other measures, the BoE could recommend caps on the size of home loans granted in relation to a property’s value or a borrower’s salary but one of the problems with London – the real hotspot – is that the market is being ramped up by an influx of foreign money which does not require a mortgage to buy.