The number of properties on an estate agent’s books hit a nine-month low in January, NAEA Propertymark has revealed.
The trade body’s latest Housing Report found members reported the number of properties available to buy had decreased from 41 in December to 38 in January.
However, the number of buyers per branch increased to 425 in January from 386 in December.
The number of sales agreed per branch increased from six in December to eight last month – returning to the same level seen in November 2016, while more than one in every 20 sold for more than the original asking price in January – the highest amount since last April when 9% sold for more than the asking price.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “January saw a surge in buyers looking to kick off the New Year with a new home – but competition is rife with an average of 11 buyers chasing each property.
“The increase in the number of properties selling for more than asking price in January could be a result of heightened interest and the fact there is simply not enough housing to meet demand.
“When the Government issued their Housing White Paper at the start of February we stated how important it was for the industry to put forward robust solutions to really make a difference, and it’s vital that building more affordable housing is at the very top of their agenda.”
Meanwhile, another report has shown that home affordability has fallen to its worst level across UK cities since 2008.
The Lloyds report, which measures the ratio between average house prices in 61 cities and average gross local earnings, found the price-to-earnings ratio in the UK has increased from 5.5 in 2012 to 6.9 in 2017.
This is close to the high of 7.2 in 2008.
Over the past five years, the average UK city house price has risen by 32% from £169,966 in 2012 to its highest ever level of £224,926 in January, Lloyds says.
In comparison, average city annual earnings over the same period have risen by only 7% to £32,796.
Oxford was found to be the least affordable place, with the average house price in the university city at £385,372, which was 10.7 times annual gross average earnings of £36,033 in the city.
As well as Oxford, five cities had average house prices at least ten times average annual earnings. These were Greater London and Winchester where it was 10.5, and Cambridge and Chichester where it was 10.3 and 10 respectively.
Stirling in Scotland was found to be the most affordable city, where average prices of £173,847 were 3.7 times average gross annual earnings.
Andy Mason, mortgage products director of Lloyds Bank, said: “City living is becoming increasingly expensive with average house prices at least ten times average annual earnings in five of the UK’s cities.
“Affordability levels have worsened for four consecutive years as average city house prices continue to rise more steeply than average wage growth.”