Surveyors have reported a subdued start to the year with a slight drop in sales activity and many predicting a fall in volume over the next three months.
The latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey found that 1% more chartered surveyors saw a fall rather than a rise in sales in December and only 4% more respondents anticipate an increase in sales during the coming three months, down from 18% previously.
However, in the longer term, the 12-month sales outlook is positive with 32% more contributors expecting sales to rise rather than fall over the year ahead, compared with 31% in the November survey.
More surveyors are also expecting price falls in the next three months, but over the year 49% more expect rises, up from 40% in November and the strongest return since May 2016.
In the lettings market, surveyors said new landlord instructions were more or less flat and projected rental growth to average close to 5% per year over the next five years.
Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist for RICS, said: “A familiar story relating to supply continues to drive both the sales and lettings markets, impacting on activity, prices and rents.
“The eagerly awaited housing white paper should help to create a more positive framework for new-build delivery, but with the best will in the world it is going to take time before the resulting uplift in the development pipeline begins to impact on the opportunities for either homebuyers or tenants.
“Meanwhile, the latest RICS survey provides further evidence that both price and rent pressures are continuing to spread from the more highly valued to more modestly valued parts of the market for good or ill.”