It must be the time of year. Out of the woodwork come the time- share touts with talk of holiday accommodation for life at bargain prices and exaggerated resell prices. The honey-trap promise of a free holiday is a thinly veiled excuse for getting into people's wallets, as a reader who was caught at Crufts a few weeks ago has pointed out.

Although timeshare has nothing to do with property investment, unscrupulous operators will suggest just that. What is of real concern to the Timeshare Council, the official voice of the industry in the UK, are companies in Spain and the islands who prey on elderly tourists.

A spokesman for the council says that in Tenerife hundreds of holidaymakers had been persuaded to put savings into a property investment with claims of a 15 per cent return within a year. "Some have been buying five or six units at a time. We are very worried about this. Anything signed in Spain is immediately binding. To make matters worse there is an outfit producing a replica of the Timeshare Council orange logo. If there is a second horizontal bar through the lettering and the contact number is in Spain, you have a fraud in your hands." Timeshare Council: 0171 821 8845.

Last month saw a steep rise in the number of chartered surveyors reporting increases in prices across the country, according to the latest survey of the housing market by the RICS. The only areas not seeing an increase were the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside. The shortage of property for sale is, in the opinion of 66 per cent, still the main factor fuelling prices. From Yeovil in Somerset, Jackson-Stops & Staff say they have never been so short of instructions. Some 16 per cent of surveyors say that vendors are asking unrealistic sums. Perhaps there are just too many agents? Some 12 per cent certainly think so.