A growing belief that property prices are falling is deterring both sellers and buyers, leaving UK housing market conditions at their loosest since the mid-1990s, according to a survey published today. Financial Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Independent

Confidence in the outlook for house prices has plunged in the past month, the monthly report by the RICS shows.

Ninety-five per cent more surveyors thought prices were falling in their area in April than those reporting a rise, compared with a balance of 79% the month before. A balance of 80% expected prices to fall further.

The finding – the most pessimistic since the survey began in 1978 – may have been accentuated by RICS’s seasonal adjustment process, since April is normally a busy month for estate agents. Unadjusted figures showed a balance of 82% of surveyors thought prices were falling.