December sales topped 9,000, the highest recorded in a month since July 2008, while there was a 27% increase in the number of properties sold from December 2012.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “The recovery of the Scottish housing market is bouncing ahead, with price rises leaping past those seen in every other region in Great Britain aside from London and the South East.
“The main force behind such staggering sales activity has been the dramatic return of the first-time buyer. The Help to Buy scheme in Scotland jump-started first-time buyers into action by enabling more aspiring homeowners to enter the market.
“An inviting cocktail of record low interest rates, easier lending conditions and a feast of competitively priced products with lower deposit requirements has attracted new buyers en masse.”
He added that in Edinburgh and parts of East Lothian wealthy buyers have resulted in rising prices, yet in less affluent areas with high unemployment activity has fallen, dragging down prices.
Sexton added: “With recovery now firmly on course, the challenge this year is satisfying the pent up demand – which is currently vastly outstripping supply.
“House building must be placed at the heart of the Scottish government’s plans and will prove critical in driving the recovery forward at a viable rate.
Similarly there are also concerns over the impact that Scottish Independence could have on house prices, especially when faced with the potential implications for Scotland’s economy if the UK pound is kissed goodbye.”