First-time buyers dominate February

The average number of properties available per member branch fell from 45 in January to 43 in February.

This the fifth consecutive drop in new property coming into the market, meaning supply is now at similar levels to May 2004.

Despite this lack of supply, the average number of sales agreed per branch continued to improve, up from eight sales per branch in January to nine in February.

Jan Hÿtch, president of National Association of Estate Agents, said: “The housing market remained strong in February with first time buyers continuing to turn out in force.

“This confidence may be increasing, but the lack of properties entering the market has slowed considerably and is a real concern that needs to be addressed now – particularly for those already on the housing ladder who want to move onwards.

“With Help-to-Buy making it easier for new purchasers with low deposits to buy a home, the appetite for buying in this price range, combined with the diminishing supply of first time buyer properties, could drive property prices up further in this sector.”

Seasoned buyers have fallen slightly in number, as house hunters registering with member agents decreased by 6.2% overall.

And 31 to 40 year olds made up half of the buyers in February, while the average time to purchase a property from sale to completion is now 11 weeks

The percentage of properties sold using the Help to Buy equity loan scheme remain at 4%.