Property demand puts buyers at risk of missing out

There were 13% fewer homes on the market to buy in October, November and December compared to the same quarter in the previous year.

Experian stressed that home buyers must ensure they have a mortgage agreed before looking at properties.

Jonathan Westley, managing director of consumer information services at Experian UK & Ireland, said: “If the fall in homes for sale continues and the government’s Help to Buy scheme kicks in, then those people hoping to get onto the property ladder will need to be ready to put an offer down as soon as they find the house they love.

“That means having a mortgage in principle already agreed or they could miss out.”

The biggest fall in for sale properties were homes valued between £100,000 and £250,000, dropping by 15% compared to 2012.

Between £250,000 and £500,000 they fell by 12%, while properties below £100,000 fell by 6%.

Westley added: “The final few months of the year are generally slower than any other time of the year, but we are also comparing it to a period in 2012 that saw an unusually high number of properties coming onto the market for sale. “

Yorkshire and Wales witnessed a significant 27% and 24% reduction in properties for sale, while only the North East and Scotland saw homes under £100,000 for sale increase - up 55% and 8%.