In addition to election uncertainty, mutterings late last week suggesting that the tax regime may be headed for further adverse changes are likely to further shrink potential buyers' enthusiasm to jump into the market in coming weeks.
"All but the most motivated of buyers and sellers will sit on their hands as all the parties appear to be hinting at tax rises to come. The threats to the housing market especially in London and the South East outweigh the positives needed to halt the slide in deal prices," Pryor concluded.
The data comes amid other evidence of slowing consumer spending in the U.K. with surprisingly poor retail sales released last week and expectations that resurgent levels of inflation will persist. These negative signals are, however, mitigated by continued strength in the jobs market and signs that sentiment is broadly holding up.
U.K. February mortgage data also showed an annual decline of 5.6 percent for approvals with analysts at Jefferies saying they anticipate a further fall in March given difficult to match comparable figures from last year before an improvement in trends returns in subsequent quarters.
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