The number of house sales could slide by more than a third this year unless economic circumstances improve, according to the RICS. Financial Times, Daily Telegraph

House prices are set to fall by 5%, the professional body will predict today, but the most striking impact of the credit squeeze will be on the number of transactions, which could drop by up to 40%.

Separately, the latest FT/ Harris poll found that a majority of Britons expect house prices to fall over the next year.

The survey found that expectations are more negative in Britain than any other large country, with 55% of adults expecting a decline in house prices compared with just under half of respondents in the US and Spain and a much lower proportion in France, Italy, Germany, China and Japan.

Just 15% of British respondents expected prices to rise while 21% thought they would stay the same. A quarter of Britons said the government should have 'a lot of responsibility' for stopping a substantial drop in house prices.