Housing supply was at its lowest for 14 years in January, the NAEA has reported. It said that landlords were swarming to beat the buy-to-let Stamp Duty surcharge and that sales to first-time buyers were up 5%.
The number of properties available per member branch fell to 33 in January, the lowest since December 2002 when 25 properties were available per member branch.
In contrast, demand for housing soared, with an average 453 house hunters registered per branch – a 21% increase from December.
The NAEA said this reflected increased activity from landlords pushing to complete sales ahead of the upcoming buy-to-let surcharge coming into effect on April 1.
Just over seven in ten (72%) estate agents reported an increase in interest from landlords – a rise from 44% in December.
Almost a third (29%) of the total sales made in January were to first-time buyers, a 5% rise on December.
NAEA managing director Mark Hayward said: “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.”
Separately, the Bank of England yesterday reported that there were 74,581 mortgage approvals for house purchase in January – up from an average of 70,221 over the previous six months.