The latest survey of the housing market by the surveyors' body RICS has provided yet more evidence that the rate of decay in the housing market may be easing, with the average surveyor busier than at time since last November.

The uplift in buyer inquiries seems to be driving the strengthening pulse of the market. The number of inquiries has perked up for six consecutive months and the rate of increase is at its fastest for almost 10 years.

These positive signs shouldn't be misinterpreted, however. The patient is still sick and it may take a long while for it to be back on its feet. There also remains a worrying likelihood of a relapse.

The fact is that the market is at an historically low point, prices are still falling and are expected to fall more.

The figures show 5% of surveyors seeing prices going up against 48% seeing prices stable and a further 48% seeing prices fall - giving a negative balance of 43%.

The RICS adjusts this figure to take account of the normally buoyant selling in April and puts the seasonally adjusted balance at -60%, well above -89% recorded last November, but still very negative.

What's more this continued fall in prices is happening despite the supply constraints caused by very limited numbers of homes being put on the market for sale and against a background of relatively cheap mortgage deals, albeit limited to those with sufficient equity.

For all the caveats, though, the survey will cheer those in the business of shifting homes and may perhaps encourage a bit more hope among developers and builders.

But there remains enough in the figures to have those with a more negative view suggest that signs of an upturn are really just the early stages of a double dip.

No doubt the debate among economists and market analysts and around dinner party tables about the direction of the housing market will continue to rage.

For my money there are a few odd plot twists to come in this tale before we get to a reasonably broad consensus on the most likely course the market will take.