The UK property market is set for a more severe slowdown than in 2005, according to the most authoritative survey of estate agents, as hous eprices fall in all regions and faster than for two years. Financial Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph

They believe house prices are falling in almost all regions and even the rampant London market has hit the buffers.

New buyer inquiries have been falling for almost a year, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reports today, and the first signs are emerging that homeowners are rushing to try to sell before the market tumbles.

New stock on estate agents books leapt 8.8% last month at the same time as newly agreed sales were lower than at any time since April 1999, when the survey began.

Falling sales hit consumer spending as people tend to buy carpets and furniture when they move home.

The large negative balance on house price expectations is worse than that recorded in the 2005 slowdown and represents a huge shift in sentiment on a year ago.

In recent years, the RICS survey has proved a reliable early guide to the housing market and its monthly surveys are closely watched by both economists and the Bank of England.

So far, the falls reported by surveyors and estate agents are yet to be seen in national house price inflation measures, which still include the big price rises of last winter and spring.

But the RICS survey is corroborated in the October FT house price index, which also found that prices had declined in half of England’s regions since June.

Even in London, only 4% more agents thinking prices had risen than fallen in the three months to October.