Punters in the residential derivatives game are putting a very bleak gloss on the direction of house prices.

The Tradition Future HPI, which measures future prices against the Halifax (HBOS) non-seasonally adjusted average, puts a value of £137,233 on an average house in June 2011. Given that prices peaked at £201,081 last August, that is a fall of about a third in nominal terms and considerably more in real terms.

No wonder the figures tempt the Director of Tradition, Peter Screats, to say: "While 'physical' house prices no doubt have further to fall, house price derivatives have already raced lower and may begin to become attractive to investors."

Chatting to one housing market expert over lunch earlier this week, the conversation turned to futures prices. We were both agreed that the drops being presented looked a bit savage.

But draw the graph over 20 years or so and the shape doesn't look too outlandish. Still you pays your money you takes your choice.

I am in no way recommending it, but I can see why a few of those eager to buy into the housing market might be tempted to make a punt on the futures market - let's face it at those prices it could be a win either way. I can imagine plenty who would happily sacrifice a bob or two if prices dropped even lower.

Could this be what Kirstie Allsopp means by "you can't lose" when buying into property.