The number of homes available to buy in January was 38 per branch, down from 41 in December and the lowest since July last year.
But prospective buyers per branch increased to an average of 425, a 10 per cent rise from December 2016 when 386 typically registered with an agent.
And the competition means one in 20 properties in January (seven per cent) sold for more than the original asking price, according to figures from the National Association of Estate Agents.
Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark said: “January saw a surge in buyers looking to kick off the New Year with a new home – but competition is rife with an average of 11 buyers chasing each property.
“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.