It is an odd thing that things can still be getting worse, but that sentiment can be regarded as improving. So it is with estate agents, according to the latest housing market survey produced by the surveyors body RICS.

The story of the June survey is that while things are still getting worse at a hell of a pace, but the good news is that the pace at which the market is getting worse has slowed a bit over the past couple of months.

In June an 88% majority of those surveyed said prices were dropping, compared with 92.2% in May and 94.2% in April. Estate agents are clearly inclined to be thankful of any small mercies

The survey does seem to back up the recent house price surveys that suggest we have seen falls in house prices of around the 5% mark over the past three months. And what is also of note is that the pattern is fairly evenly spread regionally. But within that Scotland seems to be the least hard hit, while there are some pretty hefty bad numbers in Northern Ireland.

Looking forward the mood definitely points towards further drops in house prices - that being the view held by a two thirds majority of those surveyed. Midlanders are the most pessimistic on prices.

But overwhelmingly the problem appears to be the level of transactions and that there are just too few buyers out there willing and able to leap into the market at current prices. And while the rate of decline in new buyer enquires has fallen the number is still dwindling.

It would seem that despite the positive view put on the figures by RICS the survey still points to a market that is already bleak getting bleaker.