The year has got off to a slow start, the RICS reported this morning.
Sales, new instructions and enquiries all fell during January, and the perennially gloomy RICS said that its member estate agents sensed “little prospect of a turnaround”.
While “modestly positive” about the longer term, the RICS said Brexit and high prices were causing sellers and buyers to hesitate.
During January, new buyer enquiries fell for the sixth month running across all parts of the UK, with the exception of Scotland – where demand was flat.
Agreed sales also fell again with the pace of decline gathering momentum.
Prices also continued to slip, with negative readings in London, the south-east, East Anglia and the south-west.
On lettings, the RICS said that tenant demand rose modestly in the three months to January. However, new landlord instructions continued to dwindle for the 11th quarter in a row.
RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said that agents were “continuing to find the market a difficult one in which to do business”.
He added: “Resolution of the Brexit negotiations is widely seen as critical to encouraging potential buyers back into the market although whether that will be sufficient in London and parts of the south-east where affordability remains stretched and the tax changes are most penal, remains to be seen.”
The RICS survey covered 542 branches, with 297 responses.