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The national inventory has hit an all-time low, property search engine Home has reported. It says the overall volume of property for sale is now 38% lower than six years ago in December 2007.

It says the supply crisis is frustrating in the hottest regional markets which show no sign of rebalancing.

According to Home, which takes property listings from virtually every single estate agency website and portal in the country, there are 481,000 properties currently for sale. In late 2007, there were 771,000.

It says that the monthly flow of new property into the UK market has fallen by 16.9% in the last year and by 61% since 2007. Even in the north-east, where fresh stock supply has risen, it has gone up only very marginally, by 0.7% in the last 12 months.

The site claims that new stock has all but disappeared in London. Here, it says, the volume of new properties has dropped 28.5% in the last year and is down 74% from 2007.

Director Doug Shephard said of the London sector: Any market that contracts by over 20% in just one year is showing signs of distress.

He said of the market as a whole: With such a low volume of properties for sale, there are concerns about how the market will cope with the impending upturn in buyer interest in early 2014.

On the demand side, individuals and investors have access to relatively cheap credit and yet, due to the sheer lack of choice, the number of transactions that can actually be realised is very much restricted.

Growing demand and diminishing supply will no doubt place further pressure on prices in the coming months, especially in London and the south-east.

According to Home, the average asking price in England and Wales now stands at £246,781, down 0.1% on November and up 6.1% on December last year.