Demand from prospective buyers grew by 9% in April and on average estate agents had 337 house-hunters registered per branch, compared to 308 in March, NAEA Propertymark has found.
This is much lower than last year though; in April 2017 the figure stood at 381, 13% higher.
In contrast to increasing demand, the supply of homes available to buy fell from 40 in March to 33 on average per branch in April.
Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, said: “Last month our findings indicated that we were entering what looked like a buyer’s market, but this month, the dial has swung back in the favour of sellers.
“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.
“This is particularly difficult for first-time buyers who traditionally have less bargaining power on price, so will struggling to enter bidding wars with second or 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.”
Month-on-month the number of sales agreed remained the same, with eight per branch in April. However, the percentage made to first-time buyers dipped from 26% in 2017 to 24%.
Year on year this continues to fall. In April 2017 25% of sales were made to the group; 26% in 2016 and 2015 and 28% in 2014.