Confidence in the UK property sector has sunk to an ‘all-time low’ according to a survey of 1001 accountants by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

The ICAEW UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) found that confidence in the property sector has fallen by 3.7 points from Q3 to Q4 to -45.5.

This contrasts with a 2.4 point improvement in confidence in the banking and finance sector since Q3 to -35.2, which it attributed to the government’s £37bn bailout package.

The ICAEW blamed the record negative sentiment towards property on a combination of the contraction of the UK economy a drop in volume of transactions in the housing market, and a lack of mortgage finance.

The only sector that was subject to greater pessimism was the construction sector which received a score of -54.2.

Overall business confidence declined for the sixth consecutive quarter to the lowest level since the survey began in 2003. It fell 10.6 points to -36.3 in Q4.