Both buyers and sellers are sitting on their hands, as the unpredictable Brexit crisis wears on.
The RICS said that there is little sign of the impasse in the housing market ending, with appraisals down on this time a year ago.
It said that new instructions across the UK have slipped to the weakest in three years, with sales, buyer demand and supply all in negative territory.
The RICS said that average stock levels on estate agents’ books are at record lows, with activity among buyers and sellers slipping in virtually all parts of the UK.
House prices have slipped across London and the south-east, said the RICS, but are up in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the north-west.
Most of the RICS estate agents responding to the latest survey, covering September, expect no pick-up for the rest of this year.
However, looking further ahead, 18% more RICS agents expect prices to rise over the next year than do not.
RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “There are good reasons for thinking the latest dip in both buyer enquiries and vendor instructions is a response to the endless wrangling about Brexit, as the October 31 deadline approaches.
“However, unless there is a speedy resolution to the ongoing impasse, it does seem inevitable that the stand-off between purchasers and sellers will deepen, making it harder to complete transactions.
“This will not only be a direct hit on the housing market itself but could have ramifications for the wider economy as the normal spend on furniture, fittings and appliances that typically accompanies a house move is also put on hold.”
The RICS this morning also reported a decline in landlord instructions but a rise in tenancy demand.
The survey sample drew 323 responses, covering 547 branches.
By ROSALIND RENSHAW
Source: Property Industry Eye