Confidence in the UK property market has hit its lowest level since the housing crash of the early 1990s, according to an authoritative survey of estate agents that shows even the rampant London market is in difficulty. Financial Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph

The RICS reveals today that 49.1% more surveyors reported a fall in house prices in December than the proportion reporting a rise, the gloomiest figure since November 1992.

New instructions to sell property rose in December for the first time in six months, according to the survey, suggesting some homeowners are keen to sell before the market worsens.

The sharpest increases in new instructions were in the North and London. Rics said this was “not...a complete surprise, given the exposure of its economy to financial services”.

Economists will pay close attention to evidence that market conditions are now at their loosest since August 2005, after a third monthly jump in the stock of unsold property, now up 18.3% from a year earlier.

Surveyors expect price falls in all UK regions during the next three months.