Housebuilding shares continued their hesitant recovery over the past seven days as flickers of good news emerged and hedge funds reined in their short-selling activity.

Still buoyed by confirmation of a refinancing deal with its banks, Barratt shares were up 38% over the last week at 92p. And news of a likely deal between Taylor Wimpey and a private equity investor pushed its shares up 41% to 45p in the same period.

These positive signs even caused one analyst to dare to suggest that the bottom of the market may be approaching – although not before housebuilders issue their full-year figures in August and September.

He said: “Hedge funds have had a field day so far this year but there comes a time when it doesn’t matter how crap the news is, the shares just won’t fall any further.”

One exception to the positive mood was Bellway, which spooked the City by announcing it would be making a trading update on 14 August owing to the “current difficulties” in the market. Standard procedure, the company said, but enough in the jittery climate to send its shares down 12% to 522p.