First-time buyers will have more choice with fewer buy-to-let investors to compete with in 2017, Rightmove claimed in its house price index.
Sales of two bedroom properties and fewer fell by 13.2% in December 2016 compared to the year before and as a result available stock for sales increased by 1.9% year-on-year.
In contrast stock fell by 18% in the equivalent period of 2015 as investors rushed to market ahead of the 3% stamp duty surcharge.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “Those planning to buy their first home in 2017 have more choice of properties and less competition from other buyers than their counterparts a year ago.
“It’s a possible learning point for aspiring first-time buyers that a year ago buy-to-let purchasers acted more quickly and closed deals at a faster rate, appearing not to take a Christmas break.
“Admittedly they had the financial incentive of a deadline to motivate them, but first-time buyers still have time to act and currently have the incentive of stronger negotiating power to try and mitigate the upwards trajectory of property prices.”
Rightmove recorded a 0.4% rise in property coming to market in December, while visits to the estate agent have risen by 5% year-on-year.
Kevin Shaw, national sales director at estate agency Leaders, said: “It is clear that first-time buyers are outnumbering buy-to-let investors right now.
“We have seen an increasing number of one-bedroom apartments, which historically would attract first-time buyers and investors in equal numbers, snapped up by the former.
“This is largely because first-time buyers have had numerous offers accepted over the asking price so are obviously determined and able to secure these properties in the current market.
“Investors are understandably focused on the price as this drives the yield and generally do not want to get into a bidding war to secure these properties.
“It is a similar story with modest freehold houses in town centre locations, which would typically attract investors. But in recent months the majority of viewers have been private first-time buyers.”