The UK's housing market continues to look shaky, after new figures showed the number of new buyers registering with estate agents dropped last year - as the number of properties on the market plunged.
Figures from estate agent Haart showed demand for homes fell 7.4 per cent in the year to December, falling 3.4 per cent between November and December.
Meanwhile, the number of homes coming onto the market fell 16.8 per cent in the year, falling by the same percentage month-on-month. That means nine buyers are now chasing every property on the market.
However, the number of transactions rose 4.6 per cent year on year, and 8.5 per cent month on month, it said.
The figures also showed house prices fell 3.3 per cent in the year to December, the figures showed, with the average house price now standing at £229,562.
There was some good news for first-time buyers: the average deposit dropped 12.5 per cent between November and December, to £37,268, although it rose 2.3 per cent on the year before.
Loan-to-value ratios for first-time buyers rose to 79 per cent, from 77 per cent the year before, while the average purchase price fell to £191,981, from £213,515 the year before.
The average age of a first-time buyer edged higher, from 31.3 in December 2016 to 31.9 in 2017.
"In December the market began to pick up and we have started to see transactions rise towards levels last seen in the months before the stamp duty surcharge change and the vote to leave the EU," said Paul Smith, Haart's chief executive.
"However, there remains a severe lack of homes on the market, and as a result of this I expect we see UK price growth of between three and five per cent, and a more modest one to three per cent in London."