I'm not one for publicly criticising other journalists and their take on things. I feel vulnerable enough myself.
But sometimes it is worth clearing up a bit of confusion.
I read the Rightmove figures and thought no surprise there then, not worth a comment this time around.
I then read various headlines and comments that made me fear the four horsemen of the apocalypse had just trotted by and coughed in the direction of the housing market.
I took a second look, assuming I had missed something fundamental. Fortunately not.
So I thought it worth an attempt at clarifying what I suspect is the misunderstanding of the numbers while hopefully not adding further confusion.
Firstly: The Rightmove figures measure asking prices. So, in a rising market where there are active gazumpers, the figures may understate the selling price. In a falling market when homes are being sold at, say, a 10% discount to asking price, they almost certainly overstate the selling price.
Secondly: Asking prices are driven by among other things confidence, optimism, delusion, seasonal factors and selling tactics. Moreover, it takes sellers a lot longer to come to terms with a falling market than it takes buyers.
So what are the Rightmove numbers actually saying? Well asking prices actually rose 1% in month to October and did not fall by 4.9% as I saw in one report.
This does not mean house prices are going up. According to Rightmove, there is normally a bounce in asking prices in the autumn and this year it was much more muted at 1%. So one could say that seasonally adjusted the asking price was down, but the Rightmove people do not seasonally adjust.
Also, I saw a report pointing to the fact that the Rightmove figures showing a fall of 4.9% over the year were less pronounced than the falls measured by Nationwide and Halifax. Well that should be no surprise given that the sellers are obliged to accept an average 10% discount from selling price against a far smaller discount this time last year.
Add the increase in the discount to the fall in asking price and bobs your uncle.
So what does it all mean? The housing market is weak and prices are still falling and they didn't recover in the bouncy period of the autumn. But I suspect we knew that didn't we?