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New buyers deserted housing market in April, says Rics

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The number of people interested in buying a house in April fell to its lowest level for nearly eight years, according to surveyors across the UK.

Those who saw a drop in enquiries last month outnumbered those who saw a rise by 22%.

That is the highest figure reported by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) since August 2008.

Rics said the main reason was the stamp duty rise on 1 April, and the uncertainty around the EU referendum.

The number of new enquiries fell most dramatically in London, but also fell in nine other regions of the UK.

Enquiries rose only in East Anglia, the North and Scotland.

Most surveyors also reported a fall in new instructions to sell, and most expect prices to rise over the next three months.

Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said the market was characterised by uncertainty.

"More ominous is the expectation that both prices and rents will head materially higher over the medium term," he said.

Earlier this week the Halifax reported that annual house price inflation fell from 10.1% in March to 9.2% in April.

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