The number of houses sold in July increased by 21% on the previous month — with first-time buyers helping to push up activity, according to a report.
Buying a home in Scotland cost £145,622 on average, down slightly from June's figure.
The first-time buyer market is "moving more freely" than in England — with sales up 9% so far this year, property experts say.
The seasonally adjusted average house price fell 0.3% in July, the latest LSL/Acad Scotland House Price Index shows.
Of the 32 local authority areas, a dozen have seen property prices rise over the year. Clackmannanshire recorded the biggest increase at 19.3% to take the average cost to £141,704, while Edinburgh remains the most expensive area to buy a home at £224,754 on average, up £14,000 since July last year.
Gordon Fowlis, regional managing director of estate agency chain Your Move, said: "Life for first-time buyers in Scotland has improved markedly this year. There have been 1100 more loans to new buyers so far this year than in the equivalent period last year. This has helped push up activity throughout the whole market, with July seeing 1529 more sales than June.
"While it isn't all sunshine and roses just yet, first-timers in Scotland can at least take solace from the fact life is comparably better for them than their English and Welsh counterparts. It's been easier for Scottish buyers to access mortgages this year and, given we're in the middle of a double-dip recession, it augurs well for the future.
"New buyers in England and Wales have to stump up £22,000 more on average than Scottish buyers to get a loan, which is a major reason why the Scottish first-timer market is moving more freely."
But Mr Fowlis warned that first-time buyer numbers are still only 46% of the amount before the 2008 economic crisis.
"Some may believe that prices have fallen about as low as they can and that the only way they can head now is up," he said.
"The improvements in sales we've seen this year are admittedly only tentative steps on a long road to recovery. But if sales can continue on their upward trajectory over the coming months, prices will rise as demand begins to outstrip supply."
Average house prices in Scotland have fallen 0.5% on the same period last year but the number of transactions in July was up 7% on the same month last year and up 21% on June, the index shows.
Dr Peter Williams, chairman of analysts Acadametrics, said the number of transactions in June is "below expectations" and is due, in part, to the additional bank holiday and high level of rainfall.
"Although the Government has announced a number of house-building initiatives to help kickstart the economy, these activities will not have much influence on the housing market over the next five months," he said.
"The main factors which are currently affecting the market are the difficulties in obtaining mortgage finance, with the lenders looking for high deposit levels and sound credit ratings along with the uncertainties of the current economic climate, which do not help build consumer confidence.
"These factors account for the current historically low level of housing transactions which, despite the 9% pick-up over the last year, are still some 54% down in the first seven months of 2012 compared with the first seven months of 2007.
"Given that we do not anticipate significant change in the banks and building societies' lending requirements, we can only conclude that the housing market will continue to operate at half speed, with little change in house price behaviour from the first half of the year."