9:12 AM, 9th February 2011, About 12 years ago
Home sales slipped to the lowest level for 18 months as estate agents reported a poor month of trading.
Fewer sellers put their homes on the market while buyers are holding off because of worries about rising interest rates.
More estate agents saw demand for property fall rather than rise, which industry body the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors interprets as an indication that buyers are concerned about the economy and the possibility of rising mortgage repayments.
Falling demand was balanced by falling supply as new instructions decreased as well, although at a slower rate in cold weather effected December.
A weak housing market also generated fewer home sales.
Average sales per surveyor for the quarter ending January 31, slipped to 14.6, compared to 15.2 in December, the lowest figure since June 2009.
London home prices are improving
At the same time, more surveyors reported home prices fell in January.
Although home prices are falling, the net price balance has improved for three months in a row and stands at its best level since July last year.
Across the UK, all regions showed negative net price balances during January, with the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside registering the weakest numbers.
Despite the slow market, estate agents remain optimistic about sales and prices.
“The key indicators of market activity remained in negative territory in January, albeit a little less so than in December. Uncertainty over the prospects for employment, alongside the shortage of mortgage finance particularly for first-time buyers continues to weigh heavily on transactions levels,” said RICS spokesman Ian Perry.
“However, there is a clear regional pattern emerging with London seeing a greater level of price resilience while in much of the North and Midlands, the market remains under greater pressure.”
All of the above continues to bode well for rental demand.