Another little ray of good news for estate agents and house builders came from the latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs for property transactions.

They do provide a hint of a glimmer of hope that the housing market may be experiencing some revival, with the highest level of monthly sales since last October.

The figures show that deals went through on 60,000 homes worth more than £40,000 compared with 43,000 in February and 41,000 in January.

It would be easy to interpret this as a 40% leap in sales. That would be rather silly, as it would be akin to measuring apples against oranges.

Any over excitement should be moderated by recognising that March tends to be a perkier month for sales than either January or February and this year the distraction of Easter fell in April, not March. The two months really need to be treated together.

Next month's figures should be interesting to see if there is a genuine pick up in the market, albeit at rather subdued levels. It is worth remembering that even this year's rather upbeat March figure was less than half of what we saw in 2006 and 2007.

It is also worth noting that an increase in sales need not necessarily be seen as a precursor to an increase in prices. The chances are the average house price will continue to fall through most of this year.

But, not wishing to douse any remaining embers of hope, on a casual basis the figures do suggest more activity in the housing market.