Suppose, just suppose, that Nationwide's 1.4 per cent rise in house prices in January is right and that the housing market goes on like that for the rest of the year.
We would be back with house-price inflation of over 18 per cent and the people who muse over these things feeling sore, baffled and jumpy. The famous 'soft landing' would have lasted just 16 months.
Nationwide is convinced it won't be like that, for various plausible reasons. The economy cannot be expected to do anything spectacular this year, there is going to be more unemployment and a lot of people are hard-pressed to afford the prices we've already got.
Add to that the unease over pensions and the growing reluctance to run up debt for purposes other than housing and it is hard to see the housing market generating another huge boom.
One might add that Nationwide's numbers are seasonally adjusted and January is a month when the housing market usually takes a breather. This time it didn't.
Possibly would-be home-buyers who had sat fearfully on their hands earlier in the year waiting for the much-touted crash, recovered their nerve and pressed ahead even though it was January.
The price of Nationwide's average house, without seasonal adjustment, rose last month by less than 0.8 per cent.
Just the same, once again we are back with the familiar phenomenon that British house prices rise faster than other prices, much of the time alarmingly faster. Even if we never end up with a replay of the 1990/91 crash, this is a deep-set flaw in the British economy.
It skews the way we run our lives with an overwhelming incentive to invest most of our capital and a disproportionate amount of our income in a totally unproductive asset.
It makes it increasingly difficult for young people to house themselves decently within tolerable distance of their work. It is a brake on labour mobility - people living where house prices are moderate shun jobs that mean moving to an area of high house prices because they will end up living in a worse, but more expensive, home.
Martin Weale, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, reckons that British homes are 20 per cent over-priced.
That doesn't necessarily mean a 20 per cent crash is certain or even likely - but it is possible.
House prices could return to "normal" by rising more slowly than one might expect from the relation of demand to supply.
Indeed, the present valuation could become the norm and go on for ever - though plainly Mr Weale doubts it. He writes: "Misalignments of this type can persist for some time, often with a considerable amount of effort being devoted to explaining why underlying fundamentals have changed."
Yet he doubts if any Government will scrap what he regards as the tax-privileges enjoyed by home-owners. Rising house prices don't create wealth, he points out. They transfer it to present home-owners from future home-owners - many of whom are too young to vote, or come to that are unborn.