For all the excitement created by the Halifax upward blip in house prices in January it now looks increasingly like a freak result, at least that is what the latest housing market survey from the surveyors' body RICS would suggest.

Yes I know it seems that for every green shoot spotted there is a hobnail boot to crush it. But that is the way it will be for some while yet.

And there is a strong argument to suggest that is the way it should be until a recovery is really on the way. Particularly if the Cabinet Minister and former government economic adviser Ed Balls thinks we might be fighting the worst recession for more than a century.

I don't want to seem to be what the Economist dubs a "miserablist", but in times of trouble while optimism is good, delusion is generally bad, whatever value there may be in the temporary boost it gives to confidence.

So why should we believe the RICS on this one ahead of the Halifax?

Here's my take. Samples can be skewed, but when roughly 1% of a group of specialists say they saw house prices rise in January against almost a quarter saying they saw them steady and more than three quarters said they fell. Well who would you believe?

Naturally the surveyors are not measuring the same thing as the Halifax, there are differences in both what is measured and the timing.

Both measures have their advantages and disadvantages. But for my money while the Halifax may be more consistent mathematically, the surveyors' soundings will tend to smooth out humps and bumps and give a more "coal face" view of the market. The danger with the surveyor soundings is the likelihood that sentiment will shade responses.

Yes there is a surge in "buyer interest" in the housing market, although from near rock bottom it could hardly go anywhere but up.

And it is hardly surprising that plenty of people are snouting around for bargains with interest rates as low as they have ever been - despite numerous bouts of deflation since the Bank of England was established in 1694.

Taking a short-term view, buying a house must look great if you can secure a dirt cheap loan.

The trouble is that the chances of loans staying dirt cheap for long are themselves a bit long. As Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, stressed at a CBI dinner late last month, interest rates in the long run will need to rise to more normal levels.

So see the Bank of England's current rate as a bit of a teaser rate for house buyers (not that that is the cynical intention of the policy makers) and we all know what trouble teaser rates can have on the long term stability of the housing market.