Estate agents reported a seven per cent rise in the average number of househunters registering their interest, an increase from 322 per agency in February to 344 in May.
And year on year, housing demand rose by 12 per cent from an average of 307 registered buyers in May 2019.
In the last two weeks of May, house sales to first-time buyers accounted for 32 per cent of all purchases in May, up from 22 per cent in February.
Analysis from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) Propertymark looked at activity from 13 to 31 May, when estate agents in England were allowed to reopen their doors.
Sales and lettings offices had been forced to close to comply with the government’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions from 24 March.
Prices down and sales collapsing
With the entire housing market on hold for three months, the average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch stood at five, a decrease of almost half compared to February when there were nine sales recorded per branch.
And more than two in three properties that did sell in May were bought for less than the original asking price.
Furthermore, 61 per cent of estate agents have seen an increase in the number of sales falling through since the government imposed the lockdown.
Supply of homes coming on to the market is also down. The number of properties available per member branch stood at 35 in May. Year-on-year this was a 15 per cent reduction from the 41 properties registered per branch in May 2019.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “It’s great to see the market up and running again, bringing some much-needed confidence back. With estate agents following new socially distanced protocols, and the demand for viewings soaring, we are set for an exciting summer.
“It will be interesting in the coming months to see if the lifestyle changes triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic will have an impact on house sale locations, especially in and around commuter towns.”