THE Brexit impasse continues to challenge the North East’s housing market, with the volume of sales, new buyer enquiries and sales instructions all falling last month, new figures have revealed.

In March, 34 per cent of the North East’s agents saw a fall in buyer enquiries, down from 25 per cent in February, according to the latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey.

As buyer interest in the region declined last month, agreed sales also fell during March, and looking ahead, just two per cent of agents in the region expect to see sales levels rise over the coming three months, according to the figures.

However, agents are more optimistic that sales levels will rise over the next twelve-months, with 27 per cent of respondents anticipating sales will increase over the year-ahead.

Despite a reduction in sales, the ongoing decline in homes coming onto the sales market in the North East continues with 53 per cent of contributors reporting a fall in sales instructions month.

This is resulting in stock levels on estate agents’ books remaining lower than in previous years, at an average of 60 properties per branch. However, this is a much healthier amount compared with some regions, such as the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, the South East and London, where agents all have an average of under 40 homes per branch on their books.

Seven per cent of respondents saw a fall rather than a rise in house prices last month and 13 per cent of agents in the region expect to see prices fall further over the coming three-months.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “Brexit remains a major drag on activity in the market with anecdotal evidence pointing to potential buyers being reluctant to commit in the face of the heightened sense of uncertainty.

"Whether any deal provides the shift in mood music envisaged by many respondents to the survey remains to be seen but as things stand, there is little encouragement to be drawn from key RICS lead indicators. We expect transactions to decline on this basis.

“Arguably more significant still are the signs that developers are continuing to adopt a more cautious stance with the trend in new residential starts now flatlining.

"Against this backdrop, there is little possibility of delivering the uplift in supply necessary to address the ongoing housing crisis.”

Neil Foster FRICS Foster Maddison Property Consultants in Northumberland added: “The shortage of stock is fuelling the pointless exercise of over valuing, especially by unqualified/unregulated estate agents.”