There has been a big surge in window shoppers, but no increase in sales. In fact they are a little worse. That is the nub of the latest housing market survey from the surveyors' body RICS.

Much will be read into the surge in interest with suggestions that this represents the first signs of an upturn in the market.

It will be said no doubt that but for mortgage finance things would be bobbling alone quite nicely. That is not surprising.

The current situation for estate agents must be akin to going to a freshly stocked lake and having to watch fish after fat fish swim past your hook without even a nibble. Pretty frustrating, I guess.

But the way I see it, now that the distraction of the rather extended winter sales is out of the way and with house prices slashed 20% of so from peak there will be a surge in bargain hunters, even if they are little more than curious.

Houses that seemed out of reach two years ago will suddenly tantalisingly be at prices that back then could have been afforded. That will, for some, be titillating and tempting.

The big problem is that what could have been afforded then, may still be affordable in terms of the budget at current interest rates, but can buyers get the money?

And, if the money is forthcoming from the lenders, are buyers convinced when they actually have to make the commitment that they want to plunge in with a mortgage when there is so much talk of mass unemployment.

I think I will stick to view that there are likely to be a few more dips and potholes on the path before the housing market is back on the main road.