The monthly Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) UK residential market survey revealed that enquires from new buyers fell for the 11th consecutive month in February, with 16% more respondents seeing a drop rather than an increase in enquiries.
The survey also found that agreed sales remained slightly negative (net balance -17%), similar to figures recorded over the past six months.
However, regional new buyer enquiries continued to rise in February in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Yorkshire and Humberside.
A decline in new buyer enquiries was seen in London, the South East and the East Midlands, with other regions remaining broadly flat.
House prices in the UK were reported as flat in February, the ninth consecutive month that respondents have reported little change in headline prices.
Regional prices were reported as strong in Wales, the North West, Northern Ireland and the East Midlands, but negative to a greater or lesser degree in London, East Anglia, the South East and the North.
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RICS also warned that housing stock levels looked unlikely to improve with 15% more respondents indicating that the number of valuation appraisals undertaken in February was lower than last year.
“The consultation announced earlier this week on housing delivery put the onus squarely on developers and planning departments to up their game to lift the supply pipeline, but the feedback to the latest RICS residential market survey casts some doubt as to whether this will be sufficient to address the challenge,” said Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS.
“Significantly, the longer-term national house price indicator has begun to creep upwards once again in recent months despite the current somewhat mixed climate and the private rent series also remains firm, in both cases pointing to increases of at least 15% over the next five years.
“Meanwhile, the divergent regional picture is becoming increasingly pronounced with key RICS indicators across huge swathes of the country still showing considerable resilience, but data for London, the South East and East Anglia rather more subdued.”