With stock available for sale down, Rightmove has reported its busiest-ever month with visits in January up 21m on the same month last year.
The portal also says that leads to agents and developers hit a new record of over 4.9m.
The uplift in traffic coincides with a well-documented drop in stock for sale, meaning it is likely that visitors could not find much in the way of new listings to look at.
Rightmove says there were over 127m visits last month, up almost 20% on January 2015 and surpassing the previous record of 118m set last August.
Phone and email leads beat the previous record set last July of over 4.8m.
Collectively the nation spent the equivalent of over 2,000 years browsing Rightmove in January. The busiest single day was Tuesday 26 with 4.7m visits.
Page views for the month hit a new record of 1.7bn, meaning people looked through over 1m more pages of property than in January 2015.
The most popular places people looked were London, Bristol, Cambridge and Milton Keynes.
Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “These January statistics should give both sales and lettings agents confidence that an active year with plenty of business opportunities lies ahead.
“While January is usually a very busy month for home-hunting, the scale of these records shows just how habitual Rightmove has become when people are starting their property search.
“As Rightmove is the only place where people can search over 1m properties for sale and to rent, it’s clear that buyers, renters, sellers and landlords are all using us to search the whole market.
“The busiest ever start to the year gives a very confident outlook for the coming months, with some of the surge possibly coming from investors looking to make last minute deals before the changes to Stamp Duty come in on April 1, as well as first-time buyers looking to see if any of the schemes could help them get a foot on the property ladder.”