Around 35 per cent more surveyors reported a drop in instructions than a rise last month, the worst reading since June 2016.
Rics noted that the subsequent lack of stock was limiting choice for buyers and acting as a brake on activity, and pointed out that the number of appraisals undertaken was down on an annual basis, which was “not boding well for the near term pipeline”.
According to the survey, a net balance of -23 per cent of respondents reported a rise in house prices, equal to the figure posted in March.
It noted that London and the South East appeared under particular pressure on house prices, while the South West had returned negative readings for the last six months.
In contrast things were much brighter in Northern Ireland and Scotland, with net balances of 47 per cent and 28 per cent respectively of respondents reporting a rise in prices.
Rics noted that new buyer enquiries had continued to fall, resulting in the new agreed sales remaining in negative territory for a ninth straight month.
Falling sales numbers expected
Unsurprisingly, near term sales expectations were also negative, with 11 per cent more respondents expecting a fall in sales than a rise.
Rics added: “That said, expectations still point to a flat or declining sales trend across all parts of the UK in the coming three months.
“Further out, however, a headline net balance of +13% of contributors anticipate sales will begin to pick up to some extent over the next twelve months.”
Adrian Moloney, sales director at Kent Reliance for Intermediaries, noted that the problems with the housing market stretched beyond Brexit, highlighting that in the last decade house prices have risen at twice the rate of typical wages.
He added: “This is leading to lower rates of home ownership among younger generations, not to mention frozen chains up and down the ladder.
“Evidently, more needs to be done to ensure we are meeting housing targets in order to truly boost activity and improve home ownership levels.”