The housing market is expected to see a stronger end to the year thanks to the prospect of greater mortgage availability on the back of recent government initiatives, a survey of estate agents has revealed.
Chartered surveyors' expectations for future sales reached their highest level in September for more than two years as a net balance of 26% more respondents predicted sales to grow in the last quarter of the year, said the RICS UK housing market survey.
This cautious optimism was also reflected in surveyors' price predictions with 9% more respondents expecting prices to fall over the coming three months.
While still in negative territory, this is the most positive reading since the time of the expiry of March's stamp duty holiday, said RICS.
Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said: "The housing market was relatively flat during September but surveyors are optimistic that the run-in to Christmas could see an increase in activity in many areas of the country. Prices are still dipping but at a much lower rate than seen in previous months.
"Despite this, problems still exist and more needs to be done to get the market moving. Unrealistic expectations on the part of vendors seem to be stalling the transaction process.
"Meanwhile, although the funding for lending scheme appears to be improving mortgage availability, those at the very bottom of the housing ladder are still struggling."
Last month, prices in the UK housing market continued to fall, albeit at a slower pace than in previous months. A net balance of 15% more surveyors reported falls rather than rises, the best reading since the spring.
Elsewhere, demand from potential buyers remained stable in most parts of the country with 4% more surveyors across the UK seeing increases rather than decreases in new buyer inquiries. Interest from would-be buyers has not seen any significant growth since the end of 2009, RICS added.
The amount of homes coming on to the market during September remained fairly flat as 5% more respondents claimed that supply had risen rather than fallen.