Asking prices edged ahead during January as the number of homes being put up for sale fell to a two-year low, research indicates.
The 0.3 per cent rise in asking prices for properties in England and Wales during the five weeks to January 8 came after prices had fallen during five of the previous six months, dropping by 6.2 per cent during December and November alone, according to property website Rightmove.
But the group said a shortage of homes being put up for sale, combined with a surge in demand from potential buyers, should help to underpin prices in popular areas in the run-up to the spring moving season.
An average of 9,159 properties a week were put up for sale during the five-week period, the lowest level since January 2009, and nearly half the 17,000 homes that were typically put on the market during January before the credit crunch struck.
There is a particular shortage of semi-detached homes, down 30 per cent on last year, while there are around 10 per cent fewer flats and terraced houses.
The group said the heavy snow in December would have played some part in the low level of listings, and it would be important to see if the figures bounced back during the coming few weeks.
The market has experienced its traditional new year surge in potential buyers, with Rightmove recording its busiest day ever on January 11, with more than 28.3 million pages viewed.