House prices have further to fall but there are some tentative signs that the precipitous slide in housing transactions is starting to level out, a report by the RICS suggests.

Its monthly survey, released today, shows market conditions are still slackening, with surveyors reporting a further drop in new instructions and new buyer numbers, and dwindling numbers of completed sales.

The ratio of completed sales to stocks of unsold property – considered one of the best guides to the direction of prices – fell again from 18.2% in May to 17% in June, the lowest level since 1995.

Moreover, with price indices by the main lenders showing double-digit yearon-year declines, few in the industry hold out hope for any rapid improvement. RICS said a net balance of 83.9% of surveyors thought prices had fallen in the past three months, while a balance of 68% expected further declines.

However, estate agents are less worried about the outlook for prices than they are about the near-freeze in activity. Tight credit conditions are locking many firsttime buyers out of the market, while others are avoiding buying into a falling market.

Financial Times, The Times