The UK's housing crisis is getting worse, new figures have suggested – with 11 house-hunters vying for every property on the market.
Research by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) suggested an average of 425 prospective buyers were registered to each estate agent branch in the UK in January, 10 per cent higher than in December.
Meanwhile, the number of properties available to buy fell to 38, from 41 in December and the lowest figure since July 2016.
Not surprisingly, more than one in every 20 homes sold in January went for more than the original asking price – the highest number since April 2016, when nine per cent sold for more than the asking price.
The number of homes sold to first-time buyers fell to 30 per cent, from 32 per cent in December, while the number of sales agreed per branch rose to eight, from six the month before.
"Competition is rife, with an average of 11 buyers chasing each property," said Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark.
"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.”
Figures have suggested the UK's property market has shrugged off a blip after the Brexit vote. Last week the Council of Mortgage Lenders said last month was the mortgage industry' best January since 2008.
However, data also published last week, by Rightmove, suggested UK house prices grew at their slowest in four years in February – so the market may have slowed again.