Estate agents say Perthshire homeowners are reluctant to sell up, leading to a severe bottleneck in the market.
Available stock across the region has fallen by about a third, after an unexpectedly busy post-lockdown period last year.
Aberdein Considine said that the acute shortage of homes is creating a “vicious circle” by discouraging families from selling because they are worried they won’t be able to find somewhere to buy.
James McKay, branch manager in Perth said: “From July until November, there was unbelievable, pent-up demand. It was very unexpected, nobody saw it coming.
“We and other agents were wondering what the market would be like after lockdown, but as soon as the restrictions were lifted we were inundated.”
He said: “People had decided they wanted a change of lifestyle, and we found that properties in the countryside, and homes with big gardens, were selling better.
“But the problem we have in this second lockdown is that there is a lack of stuff coming to the market. There is still good demand, but a lack of quality houses.”
The market always slows down in winter, but the amount of available stock has dropped by about 33% compared to January 2020.
Mr McKay said: “f you imagine your standard Perth family – living in a house of between £100K and £350K – with home schooling and all other pressures of lockdown, I just don’t thinking moving house is at the top of their agenda, and I think that is what is holding people back.”
But he said there was hope for the future. “I think that when restrictions start easing, we will see the market really take off,” he said.
“We can see the houses that are coming on just now are getting a fair bit of interest. As agents, we can watch the amount of hits they are getting online and the background interest is definitely still there.”
He said Perth and Kinross was still an attractive and affordable place to move, particularly for people looking for a change of scenery.
“The rural lifestyle property that you can get here appeals to post-lockdown buyers,” said Mr McKay. “That’s people who have maybe spent their time shut in their flats and have made some new life decisions during lockdown.
“Rural properties will also be more attractive for people who, until now, have needed to find somewhere close to their offices,” he said. “If they can work from home, they don’t have to worry about that, and it can free up where they want to move.”