House prices in the UK increased in value for the third consecutive month in July, leading to suggestions that property values may actually increase on an annual basis in 2009.
In July, house prices rose by 1.3 per cent, taking the average value of property to £158,871, according to the Nationwide's latest survey.
The rise marks three consecutive months of positive movement in the UK housing market, with prices climbing by one per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively in June and May.
The three month on three month rate of change, which is widely considered as a reliable indicator of short term trends, has risen from one per cent in June to 2.6 per cent – the highest level since February 2007, when the property boom was at its height.
While property prices are still 6.2 per cent lower than they were 12 months ago, the annual rate of decline is falling steadily, having fallen by over three per cent from June's figure of 9.3 per cent.
Prices have now risen by 1.3 per cent during the year thus far, raising hopes that house prices may actually record an overall increase in 2009.
Of the figures, Martin Gahbauer, the building society's chief economist, said: "There is now a reasonable chance that prices could end the year slightly higher than when they started.
"Only a few months ago, such an outcome would have appeared unthinkable."
The performance of house prices in the UK have been remarkably resilient in 2009 so far, Mr. Gahbauer added, but any recovery could be stunted because of a lack of stock, which has been caused by a lack of new property projects.
The Government signalled its intent to get housing construction projects back underway this week, when it announced it is to distribute £925 million into the industry to restart stalled developments.
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