It said there were 325 house hunters registered per member branch on average in April, down a fifth (22%) from the 417 in March.
The supply of houses available for buyers also fell between March and April, from an average of 54 to 35 per agency.
Mark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA, said it’s no surprise that demand dropped significantly in April.
“Eight in 10 agents saw an increase in purchasers trying to beat the buy-to-let Stamp Duty changes before the 1 April deadline, so we expected to see a slow-down immediately following that,” he said.
“Whilst the number of house hunters registered per branch dropped in April, the supply of available housing to buy also fell quite sharply, so supply and demand are still moving in the opposite direction, rather than balancing out.
“Additionally, the upcoming EU Referendum means we’ve entered a period of uncertainty, as buyers put off their hunt in anticipation of the result, and what might happen to prices as a result.”
One in four of the total sales made in April were to first-time buyers, a decrease of two percentage points from March. Some 33% estate agents expect sales to increase following the buy-to-let Stamp Duty changes, as buy-to-let landlords exit the market, potentially freeing up properties for first-time buyers.
Around a quarter of estate agents expect house prices to decrease while 23% expect demand to decrease if Britain votes to leave the EU in June.