The National Association of Estate Agents says the year has started with a boom as demand from prospective house-hunters increased by more than a third in January.
In December, agents registered 268 per branch but this soared to 367 in January - the most recent data available from the association.
This is the highest figure since September 2017, when there were 394 registered per estate agent branch.
In line with rising demand, January saw an influx of sellers marketing their properties – the supply of available properties increased to 36 per branch on average, from 33 in December.
However, increased competition moving into 2018 looks to be affecting first time buyers with sales falling to 27 per cent in January, from 32 per cent in December.
“Buyers and sellers have re-entered the market after the festive slow-down and triggered an uplift in the number of sales agreed” according to Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark.
“Our members have noticed first time buyers holding off on making purchases typically outside of London, and saving for longer to maximise the full stamp duty relief. They’re skipping the ‘first time home’ and moving straight onto their second homes, to avoid growing out of their property in four or five years and facing the cost of stamp duty. This is a smart move and an example of how FTBs are making legislation work to their advantage” claims Hayward.