So are house prices going up or down? A lot of us would like to know, not least the Bank of England's interest-setting committee which has enough puzzles on its mind without the threat of another house-price explosion.
In January, Nationwide says they went up by a brisk 1.4 per cent. Halifax says they fell, for the first time since last May. Put that way, they cannot both be right. Equally, neither can be wrong.
These are not surveys based on samples which may or may not be aptly chosen. They are indices compiled from real mortgages these lenders offered to real people buying real homes. Maybe all it means is that Nationwide was lending to people who are bidding more aggressively than Halifax's customers.
What we do know is that the average price paid by these Nationwide borrowers is some £12,000 less than those at Halifax. Whether this is due to differing regional patterns is unclear, though both organisations are well spread across the country.
You might conclude that cheaper houses are attracting more interest than rather more expensive ones. Sure enough, the regional evidence from the Land Registry shows prices rising fastest in the North, and Wales, parts where average prices are still catching up with the boom that ended for most of the country in August, 2004.
Anyway the boom has put average-priced homes beyond the reach of people on average pay - as Halifax says they are for first-time buyers in 87 per cent of all UK towns. It is no great surprise that more of them are settling for below average homes.
The other thing we know is that this is not a matter of over-eager house-hunters armed with City bonuses gazumping each other for seven-figure pads in the West End of London. Mortgage lenders like Halifax and Nationwide never get to know about cash buyers or what they are up to.
Their money may well filter down to lesser mortals one day. But that process more likely to take years than months. It is nothing to do with what happened to the generality of the housing market in January.
A separate puzzle arises from the 122,000 mortgages approved in December, a number last seen in May, 2004, when the boom was still going full tilt. In the past a surge of demand like that would have presaged riproaring house-price inflation - more like 20 per cent a year than ten.
Yet there is absolutely no sign of that. Sellers, it seems, have come out in force to match what is said to be pent-up demand from buyers who sat on their hands last year for fear the market was about to crash.
Now why should all these home-owners decide to sell up in the middle of winter?
Where are they going to live?
Are they planning to trade up, or down?
We shall see.
For a while, though, there seems no great reason why the Bank's committee should fuss about setting house prices ablaze all over again -or, for that matter, tipping them off the cliff.
Provided pay deals really do fail to chase oil and gas prices, there is every chance of cheaper money this spring.