The housing market has swung back in favour of property sellers, according to the latest data from estate agents.
NAEA Propertymark's Housing Report for April shows that the market is no longer favouring buyers after a strong start to the year.
Last month, the average estate agency branch had 337 registered buyers - up 9% on March's figure of 308. It is, however, 13% lower than the 381 buyers per branch recorded in April 2017.
April's rise in buyers, combined with a falling average supply among agents, is contributing towards restoring a seller’s market. The typical estate agency branch had supply of 33 available homes last month, down from 40 in March.
NAEA Propertymark also reports that the proportion of total sales made to first-time buyers continues to fall.
Between March and April, the proportion of sales made to first-timers dropped from 26% to 24%.
In April 2014, 28% of sales were made to first-time buyers. This figure dropped to 26% in 2015 and 2016 and was 25% last year.
"[In March] our findings indicated that we were entering what looked like a buyer’s market, but the dial has swung back in the favour of sellers," says Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark.
"With demand on the up, and the supply of available homes falling once again, buyers will find themselves facing stiff competition from other house-hunters."
He says the market is now particularly difficult for first-time buyers, who will need to enter bidding wars with second and third-steppers.
"The government is working to improve the house buying and selling process, which is music to our ears, but until more homes are built and supply catches up with demand, the process will remain difficult,” says Hayward.