A fall in the number of affordable homes being put up for sale has driven overall property availability in the UK to its lowest level since 2011.
A quarter of a million new properties went on sale between July and September this year, 3% lower than the same period in 2014, according to new figures from Experian.
The number of homes on sale for £100,000 or less in the UK fell by 5% in the third quarter of this year compared to 2014, while property availability in the £100,001 to £250,000 band dropped 10%.
In central London the number of properties for sale between £100,001 and £250,000 fell by 52% and by 32% in outer London.
Andy Wills, data director at Experian Consumer Information Services, said: “First and second-time buyers, particularly those with growing families, are likely to be most affected by the shortage of affordable homes.
“Lenders can help by supporting people throughout the mortgage application process and getting a fuller understanding of someone’s circumstances, ensuring they are able to manage repayments for the duration of the mortgage."
Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said latest Government housing supply figures showing 155,000 new-build housing completions in the last year are reasons for optimism.
“With the worst of the recession behind us and the UK economy showing steady growth, the number of new-build completions has increased by almost a third since the dangerous lows of 2010-11. However, the market is by no means out of the danger zone yet.”