House prices rise for the third month in a row

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The Independent Online
HOUSE prices rose by 1 per cent last month, the third monthly increase in a row, according to the Nationwide Building Society, writes Maria Scott.

The average price of a house was pounds 52,866 according to the society. That was 1.9 per cent more than at the end of 1992 and 1 per cent up on April's average, but still 5.5 per cent down on the average price in May last year of pounds 55,924.

Brian Davis, director of operations at Nationwide, said: 'If confidence continues to build, we expect house prices to strengthen somewhat in the remainder of 1993.'

David Goldsworthy, National Association of Estate Agents chairman, believed business had been brisk for members over the bank holiday weekend. But he was more cautious than Nationwide over the outlook. 'I would not go so far as to say that prices are going beyond asking prices. But prices are hardening. By August or September you may be paying the asking price for property.'

Gary Marsh, group planning and research manager at Halifax Building Society, which reports its May house price statistics on Friday, was also cautious. He said it would not be surprising to see more month-on-month falls. Increases were quite strong considering the market was at an early stage in its recovery cycle.