Increasing numbers of buyers are willing to pay more than the asking price to secure their dream property, according to the National Association of Estate Agents.
Its latest report indicates that the supply of housing on the market has fallen for the sixth consecutive month from an average of 57 properties available per NAEA member branch in September 2013 to 42 in March 2014. This is close to a 10 year low.
As a result, 19 per cent of properties sold for more than the asking price in March, nearly three times the figure in September 2013.
NAEA member agents also reported an increase in the average number of sales agreed per branch, up from nine in February to 10 in March, although the average number of househunters registering dropped by five percent in March.
The figures also show that the percentage of first time buyers purchasing a property fell from a four year high of 29 per cent in February to 25 per cent in March. Overall, half of prospective buyers said they were looking to up-size, up from a third in September 2013.
"The supply crisis continues to deepen," said Jan Hÿtch, President of National Association of Estate Agents, "and the government must act now to offer house hunters hope in an increasingly congested market. Current conditions mean that in just a few months we’ve seen a large increase in the amount of people willing to offer over market price to secure homes.
"Overall property sales may be up, but the proportion of first timers purchasing a property is down and with the significant changes that the Mortgage Market Review will bring just around the corner, we’ll be watching closely to see what kind of an impact is felt."