The average number of prospective buyers registered per estate agent branch in December 2020 dropped 41% month-on-month, according to the latest NAEA Propertymark housing report.
As a result, the figure declined from 580 in November to 348 in December.
This quantity of house hunters is the lowest number recorded since May, however the highest amount noted for the month of December since 2016.
Looking to sales agreed, the average number per estate agent branch stood at eight in December which is a decrease from 13 in November.
Despite the decline, this figure is the highest on record for the month of December since 2006.
The number of sales made to first-time buyers was noted at 23% in the last month of 2020, a 1% decline on the figure seen in November.
On an annual basis, the December figure represents a five percentage point drop from the 29% seen in December 2019.
In addition, the number of properties available per member branch declined month-on-month, from 40 to 33.
In December, 5% of properties sold for more than the original asking price which is a decrease from 10% seen in November.
Meanwhile the majority (67%) of properties sold for less than the original asking price in December.
Mark Hayward, chief policy adviser at Propertymark, said: “The number of potential buyers in the market fell significantly in December after Novembers’ record high.
“While we would ordinarily expect to see a lull over the festive period, these numbers show that the tightening of lockdown restrictions, coupled with the reality that many individuals would no longer meet the stamp duty deadline, has exacerbated this.
“As we approach the stamp duty, LTT and LBTT cliff edges on the 31 March, we are increasingly concerned about the pressure this is placing on the property industry with more than two-thirds (69%) of estate agents expecting to see an increase in failed sales due to buyers realising their sales will not complete ahead of the deadline.
“It’s important that action is taken now to prevent this and support the property sector.”