The crash in house prices is now the worst ever in Britain. HBOS will publish figures next month showing that the decline from last year's peak now exceeds the fall during the 1990s.

From the top of the market in May 1989 to the bottom in February 1992, the bank's seasonally adjusted index of prices fell by 13.1 per cent. That fall has already been exceeded since the market peaked last August.

So a slide that took nearly four years in the last recession has been repeated in just 13 months – and shows no sign of stopping.

The speed of this crash is consistent with predictions that the market will fall by 25 to 30 per cent before bottoming out, possibly in 2010. That would make this slump deeper than than in the 1990s but shorter.

Independent on Sunday