The sales market recovery is stuttering due to a serious shortage of property.
According to the latest research from the National Association of Estate Agents house hunter numbers are at their highest for almost seven years but stocks are at a six year low.
Its December Housing Market Report reveals a 14.4 per cent increase in the number of house hunters registering with NAEA agents during December.
But the supply of properties fell of 7.9 percent - the third consecutive month to report a fall in the number of properties entering the market.
The average of 47 properties available for sale per branch is the lowest number recorded since July 2007.
And, while prospective buyer interest is high, few are actually purchasing with sales falling by a third last month, although this could be explained partly by the fact it was December where seasonal drops are the norm.
NAEA President Jan Hÿtch said: “The increase in house hunters during December was a welcome surprise at a time where agents usually expect activity to slow down. The multiple media reports predicting price increases in 2014 could have played a part as buyers try to ‘beat the rush’.
“It is encouraging to see that first time buyers remained strong in December, but the continued tightening of supply in the housing market is a genuine concern. The number of properties entering the market is now at a six year low which means competition for the best properties will be fierce in many areas.\"