It has been almost impossible to open a newspaper or sit through a TV news bulletin without witnessing tidings of the great British housing recovery.
Prices are up about 3% a year; mortgage approvals are at their highest level since the end of 2009; gross mortgage lending is up 29% year on year; and buy-to-let lending is up 15%. Housebuilders, including Persimmon and Bovis, have been reporting strong growth while London estate agent Foxtons is upbeat enough to have announced a stock-market flotation. Scotland has been struck with the same excitement. Lending for house purchases was up 16% in the second quarter year on year and loans to first-time buyers - that all-important segment - are up 40%.
Faced with this statistical pincer movement, few seem to disagree that the market is finally turning around. The only disagreement has been over where it is leading. The optimists foresee a stable rise in activity and prices that will make homeowners feel wealthier and get the country spending more enthusiastically again. They say this will lead to the sort of GDP increases that will begin to dig us out of our national debt hole.
The cassandras are unconvinced. They have been warning of a new housing bubble, threatening to compound the miseries of the collapse of 2007-09 and bring the country to its knees.
It looks as though there are serious problems with both these narratives, however. On a closer examination of the figures, it is not so much about whether we are looking at a bubble or a recovery as whether there is any meaningful housing revival happening at all.
The improving figures appear to be thanks to a number of recent interventions by the Scottish and UK governments. Last August, the UK Government introduced its Funding For Lending scheme, which offered the banks a wall of cheap money to increase lending in the economy.
The target had been business borrowers, but the main beneficiaries ended up being homebuyers. Where the effective rate of interest people paid on their mortgages was 3.84% when the scheme began, it has fallen to about 3.17%.
Seeing signs this was making a difference to the market, the Government put a bigger pile of chips on housing during this year's Budget. The first part of its Help To Buy scheme, introduced in April, offers borrowers in England who can raise a 5% deposit a five-year interest-free loan for the next 20% of the value of their house for newbuild properties up to £600,000 in value (leaving the buyer to fund a 74% mortgage).
The Scottish Government is looking to introduce its own version of this scheme in the autumn, though it will apparently cover homes up to £400,000. This will replace an existing scheme that enables first-time buyers with a small deposit to do shared equity deals with housebuilders and/or the Scottish Government.
Both Scotland and England also have schemes where the governments underwrite the value of newbuild homes up to a certain value in exchange for a 5% deposit. These look likely to be superseded by part two of Help To Buy, which will extend this underwriting to all property purchases, though only of 20% of the value. This aims to unlock £120bn of new lending over three years, which has the potential to boost total lending by 50% a year.
The interventions to date have coincided with some improvements. Andrew Perratt, the head of residential property at Savills in Scotland, said: "This time last year there weren't enough viewers and they were taking a long time to make decisions because there were so many properties to choose from.
"Now the Scottish market is improving in terms of transaction numbers. The first six months show they are up by 6%. And we're seeing the number of enquiries and viewings up. The number of adverts is 20% up on the same period last year. So are actual sales, though it might take until later in the year before we see a significant increase."
Yet specialists still see plenty of hype in the media coverage. Ed Stansfield, a housing expert at Capital Economics, said: "The reason why the figures are getting so much attention is because they are coming off such a low base. If you look at mortgage approvals or prices, the improvement in the longer-term prospects has been pretty marginal."
In England and Wales, the average house price at £161,993 is about £950 more than last year. But it's still more than £16,000 lower than in 2007. Scotland fares somewhat better. The average house price by the second quarter of this year was £153,102, about £400 lower than the same period the year before, but £1000 more than in 2007.
When you take inflation into account, however, the figures take an inevitable turn for the worse. In real terms, your property in Scotland is worth around 14% less than at the start of the crash. It has not been worth so little since 2004 - and there is every indication that it will keep falling in value.
Perratt sees no signs of rising house prices in Scotland, and predicts they will be flat for 2013 as a whole. With inflation running at between 2% and 3% a year, that would mean that house prices erode by the same amount in real terms. However, while England and Wales are performing better this year, their real terms decline since the crash has been 21%.
At the same time, the market is still trading very weakly. Where in the boom days of 2006-07 more than 150,000 properties were sold in Scotland each year, it has been more like 70,000 each year since the crash. Even compared to earlier years in the noughties, we're still only buying and selling about half as much.
"You can't hide the fact that the market is still over-supplied," said Perratt. "If you look at the prime market in 2007, you would only ever see about 500 houses in the market across the whole of Scotland. Today there's about 1500, so there's three times the supply.
"The turning point in any market is when that supply drops significantly. We are seeing that happening in Edinburgh, Bearsden, Milngavie and the Glasgow west end. But in general, only when the supply of houses drops below a certain point can we see prices rise again."
Stansfield makes a sobering point about the rising lending figures, saying that the media have tended to quote gross lending figures, but the ones that matter are net lending, which show how much extra the banks have lent to home buyers or remortgagers in a given period.
According to the Bank of England's latest figures, the total amount of money being lent by banks for homeowners in July in the UK was £1.268 trillion. That's 0.3% more than last July and 3% more than four years ago. In other words, once you factor in inflation, mortgage lending has substantially contracted during the crash years.
Stansfield said: "It suggests that Help To Buy has just pushed one group of lenders to the front of the queue instead of another. There's no growth in the overall size of the mortgage market. We are even down on last year."
He is among those who do see evidence of a bubble, but only on the basis that he believes UK housing remains over-valued relative to earnings. Once you adjust for inflation, there looks to be a reasonable chance that it will keep on shrinking.
Not everyone agrees, of course. The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association thinks prices will rise by 11% between now and the end of 2016.
But if you put this up against the Government's inflation forecasts, which assume 10% over that period, even mortgage lenders are therefore suggesting that the market will barely grow.
If that sounds like a boom, it might be time to reach for the dictionary.