ESTATE agents in Yorkshire predict a “slightly stronger” end to the year for the region’s hard-pressed housing market.

The latest poll from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said transaction levels were set to pick up while prices were forecast to fall in the final quarter of the year.

Expectations for an improvement in the housing market reached their highest level since January – with a balance of plus 20% more respondents predicting a rise in the number of sales during the final quarter.

The survey said this “cautious optimism” was bolstered by the prospect of mortgages becoming more easily available to buyers on the back of recent government initiatives.

It was also reflected in surveyors’ predictions about house prices – with a balance of 19% more respondents expecting prices to fall over the final quarter of 2012. While still in negative territory, this is the most positive reading since May 2010.

Prices in the region’s housing market continued to fall during September, with net balance of 36% more surveyors reported falls rather than rises.

Demand from potential buyers also fell, with 15% more surveyors across the region seeing decreases rather than increases in new buyer enquiries.

The number of homes coming on to the Yorkshire market during September also remained negative – as 11% more respondents claimed that supply had fallen rather than risen.

Alex McNeil, of Bramleys in Huddersfield, said: “On the fifth anniversary of the financial meltdown there continues to be a relatively low volume of transactions.

“The market has continued to polarise and the most sought after ‘best in class’ houses continue to achieve multiple offers – whereas the remainder have extended realisations periods and perhaps some sectors may require a further price contraction.”

Commenting on Calderdale, he said: “There has been a stable level of sales over the past three months. Some recent well-published, favourable mortgage products will facilitate greater market confidence if this can be sustained”.