Here is a figure I love to highlight – just for the craic. It seems to get people all hot under the collar for some reason. The Blue Book of national accounts shows the official estimate of the value of homes in the UK.

The latest edition, out on Friday, puts the figure for the end of 2009 at £4,048.3 billion against £3,922.6 billion in 2008. That is a rise of £125.7 billion.

Mind you, if you apply a deflator – say that used by the Treasury – to account for inflation, the rise is a far less at a shade above £50 billion.

And by the time you take account of the fact that the stock has grown by about three quarters of a percent the rise on a pro rata basis is a measly £20 billion.

The more depressing news for those who bought into housing with a view to a pension pot in 2007 is that if we take account of stock growth and inflation the value of UK homes at the end of 2009 was about £500 billion down on two years earlier. Anyway, a bit of fun with big number.