An average of 9.7 buyers chasing every property coming on to the market in November 2013, compared to 8.5 in November 2012, 7.1 in November 2010 and 6.5 in November 2008, estate agent Countrywide's Quarterly Market Review found.
The lettings market has also remained strong, with an average of 10.4 prospective tenants per property.
The group, which predicted 5% growth in house prices this year due to a ripple effect outwards from London, said first time buyers are becoming more concentrated in age.
It expects by 2023 the proportion of first time buyers aged between 25 and 44 will have risen to 87%, from 67% in 2003. Tenants who have not bought a property by their early 40s are thought increasingly unlikely to do so.
Chief executive Grenville Turner said: "We expect the proportion of buyers aged between 25 and 44 to grow to encompass 87% of all first time buyers by 2023, up from 67% in 2003."