The housing market is showing signs of stabilising, albeit at very low levels, with average sales up slightly in March and a smaller majority of estate agents still reporting falling prices, according to a leading survey.

The monthly findings from the RICS show that the number of property sales per surveying agency stopped falling in March, with the average in the three months to March standing at 9.7, compared with 9.6 in the three months to February.

The proportion of surveyors reporting falling prices was 73.1% more than those reporting rising prices in the three-month period. However, that negative outlook was less gloomy than in the three months to February, when 78.1% of those surveyed reported falling prices.

The latest survey is consistent with data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders which said yesterday that new lending for home purchases had picked up slightly in February but remained at only about a third of the average activity for that month seen during the peak years of the housing boom, between 2002 and 2007.

Financial Times, The Times