Increased activity from landlords and investors has pushed demand for property to a six-month high, according to the latest report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
The organisation reports that 72% of estate agents experienced an increase in interest from landlords in January ahead of the introduction of a 3% stamp duty surcharge next month.
This is a marked increased when compared with December, when just 44% of agents reported an increase in investor activity.
The report also states that there were 453 house hunters registered with the average estate agency branch in January.
This is the highest level of demand recorded by the NAEA since last July and a 21% increase when compared with the previous month's report.
Meanwhile, the supply of available homes reached its lowest point for fourteen years in January.
The average number of available properties per estate agency branch fell to 33 – the lowest figure recorded since December 2002, when there were just 25 homes available per branch on average.
The NAEA also reports that 29% of total sales made in January were to first-time buyers, up 5% from December's figure.
“Our findings this month reflect what we are all seeing across the market which is that landlords are trying to complete on sales ahead of the changes to stamp duty on additional homes in April. It continues to be a sellers’ market as demand outstrips supply,” says Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director.
“The fact that housing supply has reached a 14 year low really highlights the need for the government to push the house building programme to the very top of their agenda.”