By Marc Morley-Freer, Head of Private Client Business at Smart Currency Exchange
We all live in a circular world but will we ever fully learn from our mistakes? I once remember at school asking my teacher why she thought history was so important to study.
The answer I was given was that history always repeats itself and we can learn from past mistakes. Well at 12 years old, I thought that was unlikely - but time and again this has borne true. There is not a better case of this than with the housing market, be it regional, national or global. It seems that we have an obsessive outlook on property prices.
In a week where the average London house price edged past £500,000 for the first time - almost exactly double the UK average of £249,000 - many commentators are concerned that we could be entering into another property bubble. And concerned they should be. With cheap mortgage deals for those with a decent deposit and the government's funding for lending scheme, demand is soaring. Add in the low housing stock and undersupply of new homes and it is no surprise to see why house prices are on the way up.
In January we are likely to see another increase in prices as the 'help to buy scheme' moves on to the resale market - but how far will prices go before they inevitably readjust?
A similar story can be seen in China with a recent survey showing that of the 70 cities tracked, 67 saw month on month price rises - some as high as 2.1 per cent. Fuelling the debate, that whilst house price rises are a sign of a growing economy, they need to be sustainable and managed to avoid becoming overinflated.
This leaves the Chinese policy makers in a bit of a quandry. Cool the housing market and you might stagnate the one part of the economy that is performing - or do nothing and suffer the consequences later down the line.
Meanwhile closer to home, May seems to be a month of Bank Holidays, if not here in the UK then elsewhere in Europe. This week saw UK Consumer Price Index inflation data released on Tuesday with the Bank of England meeting minutes released the following morning. Retail sales figures are released on Thursday.
In Europe, monthly manufacturing data from France and Germany is also released on Thursday and scheduled to describe continued industry contraction, whilst German business climate data released on Friday may prove influential.