The number of property transactions in the UK fell by 45 per cent between March and April, according to new data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The figures from HMRC show 94,370 properties were sold in April compared to 164,400 in March as landlords scrambled to snap-up homes before stamp duty changes came into effect, putting a three per cent surcharge on second properties.
The total number of residential properties sold in April was the lowest for three years at 84,280.
Doug Crawford, chief executive of My Home Move, said: "Transaction figures are likely to be subdued over the next few months as a result of the rush on buy to let purchases in the first quarter and caution caused by the looming referendum.
"While house prices are high, buyers who can raise a deposit have been given a boost by extremely attractive mortgage rates which support borrowing. There are also signs of solid improvement in lending to first time buyers, such as growth in high loan-to-value mortgages available."
David Brown, chief executive of Marsh and Parsons, maintained a positive outlook, saying: "April almost marks a fresh start."
He added: "After most peaks comes a corresponding trough – and with home sales front-loaded into the start of the year, we're seeing a natural and understandable calming.
"The goalposts simply changed overnight, making it incomparable to an extremely hectic March, which was characterised by unparalleled activity from second home owners and buy-to-let investors rushing through completions."