More Britons are enquiring about property but sales have not increased in the last quarter, according to research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Figures from the body showed that the average number of sales arranged by one its members in the last three months was 9.9, compared to ten in the previous quarter.

It suggests that would-be homebuyers could be waiting for further house price falls or struggling to secure mortgage finance as lenders tighten their borrowing criteria in the current economic climate.

This trend could be good news for private landlords with buy-to-let mortgages, as more Britons could switch to renting in the short to medium term.

Indeed, figures published by Your Move last month found that rental demand was up 63 per cent in December compared to the same month in 2007.

The results of the study prompted the firm's managing director David Newnes to describe the lettings market in 2008 as the "only good apple in a bad cart".ADNFCR-2002-ID-19018979-ADNFCR

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