What happens in the US housing market is becoming increasingly of interest this side of the Atlantic, as confused pundits scratch around for any clues as to what might be in store for the UK.

No longer is there a broad sense of confidence that we are immune to what was being presented, less than a year ago, as local difficulty in the US. On the contrary, there is a growing mood (and some suggestive data) that we may just be doing what we so often seem to do and that is follow some months behind the US.

Certainly very few (no one I ever spoke to) had expected to see a meltdown in UK house building as was experienced in the US. From a peak in the number of homes completed during the final quarter of 2005 home completions in the US have roughly halved.

The "demand" for homes was too great in the UK, it was argued. But now a similar fate appears to face the UK house builders.

So more notice is now being taken of the news from the States on house prices. And the latest figures from the much regarded S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show house prices across 20 US cities dropped a further 1.4% in April. They now sit about 15% lower than a year ago and 18% down on the peak reached in July 2006.

The good news to be found in the figures is that the rate of fall has eased a shade, after five consecutive months of falling by more than 2%.

Is this the start of a trend with prices starting to stabilise? It is too early to say. Most other figures suggest not. The confidence levels measuring those who plans to buy a home within 6 months fell over the past two months.