The property market declines continued over February, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). However, the falls eased to their slowest pace in five months as the market continues to stabilise.

Despite the overall strength of the economy, buyer activity remains subdued, surveyors said, with prospective buyers cautious following rumours of a possible increase in interest rates over the coming months.

Completed property sales slipped back during February, down 33% from the same month in 2004, although sales in the past three months have only fallen 3%, indicating that some degree of stability has returned to the market.

With the growing choice of available property, prices are likely to remain restrained. Surveyors continue to anticipate modest price falls over the next few months, the survey said.

Estate agents Hamptons have also released their latest market report, albeit with markedly different results. They say that buyers, especially those looking for top-end country properties, are returning to the market with renewed confidence, while stocks of available properties remain low.

Hamptons believes that the lack of properties on the market, as well as stable interest rates, low unemployment and rising incomes, will continue to support house prices.

?Sellers should come to the market with a full marketing campaign to ensure as much coverage as possible. With recent City bonus payouts, London buyers are actively looking for a suitable country investment,? said Country House Director John Denney.