The latest figures from Halifax put the price of an average house (not seasonally adjusted) up by 3% on the low they reached in March this year and broadly on a par with the level at the end of last year.

This will no doubt help keep alive the hopes that many have that the worst of the house price falls are over and it will probably stir many to speculate that house prices are on the march back upward.

There is however a long way to go before improvements in both the housing market and, more importantly, the economy at large are sufficient to support confidence in the view that the worst is over.

There remain heavily weighted downside risks which could stamp on any green shoots emerging in the housing market. We are currently enjoying the upside of the stimulus packages, so we should expect life to feel easier. It would be worrying if it didn't.

What we have yet to experience is the impact of reversing the fiscal and monetary stimuli. That alone provides sufficient uncertainty to remain highly cautious, if not a little nervous. Meanwhile, unemployment grows.

Relief may be an appropriate. Optimism seems rather premature.