House prices fell at a slower pace in November as buyer interest picked up modestly, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' seasonally adjusted house price balance rose to -17 last month from -24 in October, the highest level since July 2010 and confounding economists' expectations of a further decline to -25.
Buyer demand improved for the third month in a row in November, with the survey showing that more surveyors reported rises in new buyer inquiries than falls.
The net balance on newly agreed sales hit the highest level since December 2009, and the average number of sales agreed per surveyor hit the highest level since September 2010.
It is encouraging that buyer interest has edged upwards in the face of the endless diet of negative news from Europe and the turmoil in financial markets, said RICS housing expert Alan Collett. However, a meaningful recovery still seems some way off.
Most experts expect house prices to inch lower as households struggle to find the financing for house purchases.
(Reporting by Sven Egenter; Editing by Hugh Lawson)