There has been much joy in the housing sector at the news that the number and amount of home loans approved by banks grew for the third consecutive month in February, according to the British Bankers' Association.

While this is clearly not more bad news for housing and homes loans businesses it may be worth holding back on hopes that this represents the start of an upward slope.

Certainly the figures are consistent with other data indicating the first signs of "green shoots". And the surveyors' body RICS has been quick to suggest that this mortgage data concurs with its figures on growing interest being shown by buyers and has used the BBA figures to dismiss claims that the interest was just "window shopping".

But with the spectre of unemployment and short time working looming large and with a consensus among experts that house prices have further to fall, it may be that the rise in the number of mortgages approved during the three months to February proves little more than a slight upward adjustment.

Most people have at some point to move and even in this climate plenty will prefer to buy than rent. Indeed there may have been a backlog with more than usual holding back in the run up to the festive season, which has assisted in bumping up the February figure. Without closer examination it is hard to know.

But with interest rates down sharply and mortgage lenders slightly more willing to lend (providing there is a healthy deposit) it would be unreasonable to assume that lending would remain at the crisis levels of late last year.

It is worth noting that, according to the BBA figures, the number of loans approved for home purchase in November 2008 was about 20% that of November 2006. Let's face it you would be shocked if the numbers didn't bounce back from that.

Naturally it is good when things stop getting worse. But frankly looking at the figures for mortgage approvals over last winter, there was little scope for them to get much worse.