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Residential property prices in UK up for fifth month in a row, latest figures show

The average cost of a home rose by 0.9% during to £161,816, building on gains of 1.4% in both July and August.

The latest increase left house prices broadly in line with where they were a year ago, making September the first month in which annual house price inflation has not been negative since March 2008.

Property prices have now risen by 3.8% during the past three months, compared with the previous three-month period, the biggest increase on this measure for five years.

They are also 4.1% higher than they were at the start of the year, although they are still 13.5% below their October 2007 peak.

But Nationwide warned that house prices were unlikely to continue to increase at their current rate, particularly due to the ongoing problems in the mortgage market and rising unemployment.

‘The further increase in house prices is very much consistent with improvements in a broad range of economic and financial indicators over the last few months, all of which suggest that the most intense phase of the recession and financial crisis has probably passed,’ said Martin Gahbauer, Nationwide's chief economist.

‘However, given that the housing market still faces considerable headwinds in the form of high unemployment, restrictive credit conditions and an impending withdrawal of the stamp duty holiday, it would be surprising to see house prices continuing to increase at the very strong rate seen in recent months,’ he added.

He said at the current rate at which mortgage approvals for house purchase were rising, it would take another 18 months for sales volumes to recover to their pre-downturn level.

Another positive aspect to the figures is that all regions of the UK saw house price rises during the third quarter of the year, compared with the previous three months.

Northern Ireland saw the biggest quarter-on-quarter change at 9.7%, followed by the South West at 4.9% and the outer Metropolitan region of London at 4.7%, while in the outer South East prices were 4.1% higher.