HalifaxThe latest figures from the Halifax show house prices rose in May by 0.4%.

This is the fourth month in a row which house prices have risen and according to the Halifax the average home is now worth £166,898.

The increase reported by the Halifax in May exactly matches the figures from the Nationwide’s House Price Index; however, the Halifax is more bullish when comparing the annual rise. According to the Halifax house prices have risen by 2.6% over the past 12 months, whilst the Nationwide puts the figure at a more modest 1.10%.

The 2.6% rise reported by the Halifax is the largest since September 2010.

Commenting, Martin Ellis, Housing Economist at the Halifax, said: “House prices continue to pick up gradually. Prices in the three months to May 2013 were 1.5% higher than in the preceding three months. This was slightly higher than the 1.3% increase in the three month-on-three month measure in April.”

Ellis continued: “Market activity has also improved slightly in recent months although home sales remain low by historical standards.”

“Despite these recent signs of improvement in the housing market, the subdued economic background and the accompanying weak income growth continue to be a significant constraint on housing demand and activity.”