The broad message coming out of the latest housing market survey from the surveyors' body RICS is that transactions may be stabilising but prices still are falling and have a way to fall yet.

The interview with RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn on Radio 4's Today programme suggested that sellers are more accepting of much lower prices, which is helping to get sales moving, which in turn is a good thing. The net result being prices fall further and transactions stabilise, but at a low level.

The survey was taken before a couple of further knocks to the market, most notably the government's mad moment over stamp duty, which may create a hiatus in the market.

Clearly it was also taken before today's jump in consumer price inflation to 4.4%, which rather surprised the markets and appears to rather knock on the head hopes of a cut in interest rate in the near term. Whether this will feed through into the interest rates charged by banks and building societies is to be seen.

However, looking at the RICS survey numbers for July all the primary indicators are negative, which suggests that things are getting worse in the market.

The survey doesn't directly measure the actual volume of activity in the market. Rather, it measures the balance of agents saying things are improving against those that say things are getting worse. This means if you want to gain a feel for the average pattern across the country, it takes a bit of interpretation and probably a bit of guesswork.

This makes the survey no less valuable. I hasten to add. It does seem to be a fairly sensitive gauge to what other surveys pick up later down the line, which would appear to be further falls in house prices.

One interesting development in the figures is that in London and the South East the proportion of agents saying property prices have fallen by more than 8% over the previous three months has jumped from the figures in the RICS June survey.

Always a bit foolish to place too much emphasis on one set of figures, but here goes. This could suggest that prices in London and the South East are starting to shift downward in bigger leaps, having tended to hold up a little better than elsewhere.

This fits with some conversations I have had recently with various experts who suggest once a readjustment gets underway in London it may happen more swiftly than in other parts of the UK - London being that much more dynamic a housing market.

There does seem to be a hint of a north-south divide in the rate of readjustment in house prices, with the north having taken the biggest hits initially, but with the south now catching up.

Given the weight of housing in the south this may, when the number crunchers balance their data to provide a national picture of house price falls, mean an increase in the pace of house price deflation.

And there are clearly plenty of people out there prepared to back with money that this may be the likely shape of things to come. The latest Tradition Future HPI, which measures prices in the derivatives market for house price futures shows a further fall on the price a year out.

The Tradition Future HPI measures against the Halifax non-seasonally adjusted house price index and puts the average house price at £148,997 for July next year. This is against a peak of £201,081 last August and represents an annual rate of fall in nominal prices of about 26%.

The more disturbing figure though is the projection for 10 years out. It suggests that even after a decade house prices will not have returned to their peak. When inflation is factored in (say, a decrease in the buying power of a pound of between 20% and 40%) this paints a very grim picture of the future of house prices.