House price falls are over. That is the declaration made over the past two months by the futures market after two years of grim expectations.
As recently as last December you could forward buy a notional average house three years hence for £106,153 on the futures market. That price is set against the non-seasonally adjusted Halifax index, which peaked at £201,081 August 2007.
Basically the futures market was predicting that house prices would drop by half from peak. The market's position today is that prices will rise from here.
If this morning you decided to buy that same notional house at the futures price for December 2011 you'd be looking at paying north of £167,000 - about a 17% drop from peak, but up on the current Halifax average price.
Peter Sceats, Director of the real estate division of Tradition, which produces the Tradion Futures HPI, rather unsurprisingly pointed to the missed opportunities.
He suggests "Residential derivative traders initially priced in an 'Armageddon factor' following the credit crunch and the Lehman collapse and then gradually unwound the discount as the effect of the bailout and stimulus packages took hold."
Before beating yourself up though, this was not an opportunity missed for everyone. For those of you out there who now wonder whether you could have bought a "notional" house for yourself on the futures market - sorry, unless you had a handy minimum £6 million to put down.
Meanwhile, before investing too much meaning in the derivatives market it is important to understand that it is not simply a predictor of future events, rather it provides a hedge against future uncertainty.
The prices now suggest that buyers fear house prices rise. But clearly the fear is not that great as the average rate of increase over the next five years is priced in at less than 2%.
Now here is a question: will house builders start to trade in residential derivatives to hedge against any future downward shock? It may be one way to help derisk the business.