HOUSE prices are at their highest level since records began, according to official statistics.

The average cost of a property in Scotland between July to September was £170,190, up 5.2 per cent on the same period in 2013.

It is the highest figure since Registers of Scotland (RoS) began compiling quarterly house price statistics in 2003.

The total volume of sales was also up, with an increase of 9.1 per cent on the same quarter in the previous year. This figure represents the highest volume of sales for any quarter since 2008.

RoS director of commercial services Kenny Crawford said: "This is the second consecutive quarter in which the annual increase in average house price has risen by over five per cent, bringing the average property price above pre-economic downturn levels, to just over £170,000.

"This, combined with the increase in sales volumes, has brought the total value of sales across Scotland to just under £4.5 billion for the quarter, up 14.8 per cent on the same period last year."

Renfrewshire recorded the highest percentage rise in average price compared with the same quarter of the previous year, up 17.2 per cent to £137,072.

The City of Edinburgh recorded the highest average price at £235,402, a rise of 5.6 per cent compared with the same quarter in the previous year. It remains the largest market with sales of just under £759 million.

House prices in Glasgow rose by five per cent, with the average standing at £138,885.

East Dunbartonshire showed the highest percentage rise in the value of sales, which increased by 36.4 per cent compared to the previous year.

All property types showed an increase in average house price during the last three months, with the biggest rise recorded among terraced properties at 5.3 per cent.

The largest sales volumes came from detached properties, which went up by 11.2 per cent on the previous year.

Faisal Choudhry, associate director and head of Scottish residential research at estate agent Savills, said that the property market was performing well.

He said: "The rate of growth has slowed down from 26 per cent at the end of last year to nine per cent at the end of the third quarter this year. That is because mortgage lending has plateaued as more controls and restrictions were put in place as a result of the Mortgage Market Review coming into force in April.

"But this has not stopped price growth and having tighter rules is not a bad thing for the market."

He added: "These figures reflect the busy summer period when activity tends to peak so do not come as a huge surprise."

Rettie & Co's director of research Dr John Boyle said: "These latest statistics show that the housing market in Scotland is continuing to improve.

"The rise in activity continues a trend that began in the middle of last year, with improving economic activity levels, consumer sentiment, bank lending and new build activity helping to raise the market.

"First-time buyers have also returned to the market in larger numbers, which is a major factor behind getting the market moving at all levels."

He said the referendum had produced "little impact" on the overall market, although activity did slow down in the weeks before the vote and there was an effect on high-value sales over £750,000.

But he added: "Although demand pressures are seeing house prices rise, prices in Scotland remain down on 2007 levels in real terms."

Blair Stewart, Edinburgh City partner at Strutt and Parker, said that there was a "deluge" of higher-value property coming on to the market ahead of the new Land Building Transactions Tax which will replace stamp duty next year.

He said: "There will very likely be another increase in the average value of property across Scotland in the next set of figures."