If I were the Chancellor looking at the latest property transaction figures I wouldn't be worried, I'd be very worried.

At 270,000 transactions for residential property in the second quarter, we are looking at a housing market about 38% less active than a year ago, when 432,000 transactions were undertaken in the same period .

A quick look at the seasonally adjusted figures points to the downswing continuing.

That means more estate agents closing (As it happens, I walked past an estate agent's office that I hadn't previously spotted was closed only this morning). That means less tax take from the companies and the employees.

It means more pain in the house building market. It means removal companies struggling. It means fewer white goods sold, less in the way of painting and decorating and so on and so on.

That would worry me if I were chancellor.

But what would start to worry me even would be the implications emerging from poring over the statistics on the tax take from stamp duty.

Not all of it comes from house sales, but a hefty chunk does  (see earlier blog for those figures).

The Treasury has £13.47 billion penciled in for its total take from stamp duty in the current financial year. That is down from the £14.15 billion collected in 2007/08.

With one quarter figures already scored into the record books the tax take to date is £2.57 billion. That is a drop of more than 30% on the same period (April to June) a year ago.

Who knows where the figures will be at the end of March next year. But if the Chancellor is looking at a hole in the stamp duty take then of less than £3 billion he may judge himself to have been lucky.

Look at it the other way. If I were Alistair Darling I would be wondering how to fill a £5 billion gap in my budget.