The residential property market has been buoyed by the return of first-home buyers, new figures have shown.

According to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), new entrants to the market helped to push up total house purchase sales for the first time since January. Figures from the group indicated that while estate agents typically handled five home sales during August, this rose to seven in September. This increase was in part attributed to the abolition of stamp duty tax on properties worth less than 175,000 pounds last month, which was said to have encouraged cautious first-time buyers to put in bids on property.

Indeed, Chris Brown, president of the NAEA, said that for those who can secure finance in these difficult lending conditions, now is the perfect time to get their foot on the first rung of the property ladder. Consumers who are looking for an effective way to boost the deposit on the home of their dreams may find that taking out a personal loan is appealing.

However, he noted that many current homeowners are hesitant about making moves on the market at the moment.

"It is clear that certain factors are in motion within the property market, with a decision being made on stamp duty last month, but this is still not enough. As property prices continue to drop the government needs to take action and make some drastic changes to restore confidence. It is evident from the results that despite some positive indicators, consumers are still cautious, with many continuing to adopt a wait and see attitude and are only moving if it is necessary. Those who are not desperate to move are staying put in their homes and waiting for some stability to be restored across all sections of the market," he said.

The group went on to point out that with many homeowners still nervy about plunging house prices, figures indicate that estate agents are now being forced to work harder to secure deals. While the average time between instruction and sale stood 8.64 weeks in September 2007, last month average turnarounds took 14.13 weeks. However, while many consumers are showing a reluctance to commit fully to moving home, the number of people showing provisional interest continued to grow.

According to the NAEA, the typical estate agent had 211 house hunters on its books in September, up from 207 in August and 192 in July. However, such a figure is still down considerably on the average 326 people on the search for a home registered with estate agents around the country in September 2007.

For consumers who are keen to put in an offer on a property but are finding it difficult to get finance from cautious mortgage lenders, taking out a personal loan may prove an effective way to increase the size of initial deposit and reduce the perceived risk of extending finance for the sale of a home. Potential buyers may be particularly interested in applying for a loan after the monetary policy committee slashed interest rates earlier this month.