Two bits of good news for house sellers and builders in the latest housing market survey by the surveyors' body RICS.

The graph showing the proportion of surveyors reporting prices falls appears to have bottomed out. And the graph showing interest from buyers has turned positive for the first time in about two years.

The bad news is that the graph showing property sales per agent continues to fall.

While the desperate might clutch at the wispy straws of hope in the survey on prices and buyer interest, the reality is that the level of sales is the most important measure right now.

Frankly whether it is a majority of 81% or 76.5% of surveyors reporting falling prices is immaterial. Anything over 50% is nasty territory. Looked at cynically agents are selling so few homes now almost by random chance there will be one month when prices appear to have risen.

Meanwhile, given that interest in home buying has fallen for two years, there had to come a point when it increased if only from the curious looking to see what bargains they might pick up in a distressed market.

When it comes to the private housing market, what really matters for the economy as a whole is that people can buy and sell homes more freely.

This is vitally important for labour mobility, for households' welfare, to better match households to appropriate homes, to refurbish the stock of existing homes, to bring new housing stock to the market and, last but not least, to raise stamp duty tax revenues for the highly stretched Treasury.