I'll be honest I wasn't expecting the latest Halifax (HBOS) house price figures to be quite as dramatic as they were - showing a further 2% drop in June.
Not that I am overly surprised, but on nothing more than a hunch I had expected the rate of fall in June to ease to between a half and one per cent, partly because falls in the previous months had been so large.
But taking the data at face value we are now seeing prices fall twice as fast as in the 1990s collapse. House prices over the past six months have dropped, according to the Halifax data, by almost 9%. The fastest fall over six months in the early 1990s was registered in September 1992 when it reached 4.8%.
House prices in June were 9.6% down from the peak in August last year. In the 1990s it took more than three years to fall that far. And in total nominal prices fell from peak to trough 13% on the Halifax measure over that recession.
So are we seeing a different kind of housing market recession this time around?
In late May I was mulling over whether the UK was following a similar path as set by the US.
I remember particularly well because I got a mild verbal slap when I showed my rough and ready efforts to a good friend, who unfortunately is an academic and economist and who quite rightly disapproves of trying to suggest too much from too little data.
But the point I was seeking to make was that there appears to be some similarity between the UK and US experiences, albeit with a lag of about a year. The latest data appear to be adding further weight to that possibility. For the record US house prices had fallen about 18% by April, so are now probably about 20% off the peak on average.
One point that has long bothered me is how a housing market correction would play out in a "low inflationary" environment. The early 1970s correction occurred with house prices rising as general inflation was raging at between 10 and 25%. Similarly the 1980s saw double digit inflation burn out debt.
It was the 1990s housing crash that brought us face to face with the concept of negative equity, even though inflation in the early period of the correction was relatively high, although much lower than in previous recessions.
Also the housing market slump was protracted, which it could be argued helped reduce the severity of the fall in nominal house prices. The long-term trend is for house prices to rise by about RPI plus about 2.5% to 2.8% (depending on what trend line you take).
So even though in cash terms house became just 13% cheaper over the length of the house price dip the correction against trend for the housing market could be put (depending on what assumptions and numbers you take) at about 35% to 40%. Some may say higher.
So where does that leave us now. We have low inflation and we appear to be going for a fast rather than slow decline.
On that basis I'd say we can expect to see rather more aggressive drops in average nominal house prices. 15% on the Halifax measure by the end of the year maybe?
Or maybe we give serious thought to those naughty siren voices suggesting we burn out debt and let slip the dogs of inflation?