With a faltering economy, political gridlock, high interest rates, delayed monsoons and an epic power outage that has plunged half its 1.2 billion population into darkness, optimism is a sparse commodity in India.

Just not when it comes to rising house prices.

‘What goes up a lot must keep going up’ was the conclusion from the very first Reuters Indian housing market poll this week. And it sounded very familiar.

Past experience shows that respondents to housing market polls – whether they be independent analysts, mortgage brokers, chartered surveyors – tend to cling to an optimistic tone even as trouble clearly brews below the surface.

That was the case before the historic U.S. housing market crash that sent prices plummeting by more than a third and triggered the financial crisis. Five years later the market is still trying to find its footing.

Spin the globe over to South Asia.

India’s two biggest cities, Mumbai and Delhi, have become prohibitively expensive for average people to purchase property without stretching themselves financially. Average Indian house prices have doubled over the past five years.