By Daniel Hunter

House sales per surveyor across the UK are almost forty percent lower than five years ago at the peak of the boom, says the latest RICS UK Housing Market survey.

During May, the average number of completed sales per surveyor was 15.6. This represents almost a 40 percent drop from May 2007’s figure of 25.4 and goes some way to illustrating the extent to which market activity has fallen in recent years.

With transactions down and affordable mortgage finance now harder to come by, homes are taking considerably longer to sell. Indeed, during the three months to May, surveyors sold 23.1 percent of the homes on their books, a significant fall from the same period in 2007 (40.9 percent).

Looking ahead, chartered surveyors expect transaction levels to see a slight upturn over the coming three months, with a net balance +9 percent more respondents predicting rises, while expectations for future prices remain squarely in negative territory.

Prices continued to fall last month as sixteen percent more respondents reported falls rather than rises in prices. This reading has now been in negative territory since June 2010.

Across the UK , the results in most parts of the country were consistent with prices edging downwards last month. The capital once again outperformed the rest of the country as the only area to record more surveyors reporting increasing rather than decreasing prices.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the amount of homes coming onto the market and the level of new buyer interest were both similar to April, as respondents reported flat net balances of -3 percent and -1 percent respectively.

"It’s no surprise to see such a sizable drop in transactions since the market peak back in 2007," Peter Bolton King, RICS housing spokesperson.

"Ongoing economic instability in the UK and overseas has continued to undermine consumer confidence, and the reluctance of many banks to offer affordable mortgage products has created something of a stagnant market.

"In spite of this, a gradual stability is returning to the market and surveyors expect transaction levels to increase over the coming months, even if prices continue to dip across most parts of the country."

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