The number of properties for sale jumped by more than half in March as buy-to-let investors exited the market.
Demand fell at the same time, with fewer potential buyers registering with estate agents.
First-time buyers who can now see a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel as more climb onto the property ladder.
The latest National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) March Housing Market report showed that the supply of available houses jumped by 54% from 35 properties per branch in February to 54 in March.
Demand fell with an average 417 house hunters registered per member branch, down 10% from 463 in February when demand was at the highest level in 12 years.
Estate agents reported a fall in the number of properties selling for more than their asking price.
Only 7% agents saw this happen in March, compared to 11% in February.
Sales to first-time buyers rose in March and the new 3% stamp duty surcharge for buy-to-let should give supply a further boost.
In March, 28% of total sales were to first-time buyers, up from 24% in February.
The NAEA’s research also showed that 39% of estate agents expect buy-to-let stamp duty reforms to increase availability as investors back away, further boosting first-time buyers.
NAEA managing director Mark Hayward said: “In theory, things should get easier for first-time buyers as we have seen with a slight increase in sales as buy-to-let sales tailed off.
“However, prices remain high and housing is in short supply.”