Those looking to move are having the toughest time seen for seven years, according to the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).
With the housing market in such a poor state, some may decide to improve rather than move, with conservatories, lean-to kitchen extensions and loft conversions all being options over and above the standard extension or interior renovation.
The CMLs figures show that mortgage lending in December was 11 per cent down on the previous month and 47 per cent down on December 2007.
Over the course of 2008 the total number of mortgage approvals fell by 30 per cent, leaving countless homeowners facing difficulties selling in a diminishing market.
Although the government has recently been encouraging increased lending from banks in an attempt to stimulate the housing market, Decembers figures show that a burgeoning property industry is a long way off.
Those living in the countryside are not safe from the fiasco either; Primelocation.coms Mark Milner recently predicted that country house values could fall by 15 per cent in 2009.