The Nationwide's latest stats for June on house prices confirmed what everyone knew: house prices are still falling. The figures put the average house price down 0.9% on the month, 6.3% on the year and 8% down from the peak in October.

If the current rate of fall continues for the rest of the year, Nationwide will be measuring a fall of between 10% and 11% for 2008.

Yesterday's Hometrack figures, although not showing the same scale of decline over the past 12 months, putting it at 2.3%, do support the pattern of steady and widespread erosion in house prices.

Hometrack measured 83.6% of postcodes showing price falls in June compared with just over half in April.

But in one sense it is not the exact quantum of the fall that is of most concern to industry insiders - not that the potential scale of falls remains anything other than scary. But for them the real worry is having no real handle on where the bottom of the market is and when it will be reached.

The market is currently not functioning in any way properly. And there is a growing feeling that the market is unlikely to stop misfiring, with spluttering sales, until we get somewhere near the bottom and the uncertainty over price is greatly removed.

At this point, the argument goes, buyers and sellers will have more confidence that they are buying and selling at a "fair market price" and there will be greater willingness among investors to put their cash in housing, without having the nagging feeling they if they wait there will be better opportunities. Property transactions will bounce back - although, how much, who knows?

The current pattern of decline is providing no signs of when the market may start to bottom out. It could be many many months or indeed several year if we follow the pattern of Japan and Germany in the 1990s. That is of course, unless there is a sharp shift in the economy that forces sales - eg a fast rise in unemployment among homeowners - which precipitates a faster market correction.

There is a growing case for suggesting a fast correction will probably do less damage to the nation's house building infrastructure. But it's all a bit like deciding whether to pull a well-stuck plaster off your arm, fast and painful, or slow and painful. Either way it's painful.