For the third month in a row, home values in the Baltimore metro area were up in October, according to estimates released Wednesday by housing market data firm Zillow.

Home values in Greater Baltimore were up 2 percent annually last month -- to an average home value of $220,800. That's a 0.5 percent increase over September, Zillow said in a statement.

The 2 percent gain was the largest 12-month rise in Baltimore-area home values since January 2007, according to Zillow’s estimates.

The nation saw the 12th consecutive monthly increase in home values in October, Zillow said. Nationally, the average home was worth $155,400, a nearly 5 percent increase over October 2011. U.S. home values were up 1.1 percent from September.

“We’ve reached a milestone with one full year of monthly home value gains,” said Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, in the statement.

“Those dubious about the durability of the housing recovery will point to the large role that investors are playing in the recovery, or to the large number of foreclosures yet to hit the market, as factors to be wary of,” he said. “But the bottom line is that homes are more affordable now than at any time in recent memory, and buyers are seizing this opportunity.”

Home values in Phoenix were up the most out of the major U.S. markets in a year-over-year comparison. Home prices in that region of Arizona rose about 22 percent from October 2011. San Jose and Denver also saw double-digit percentage increases over the course of the last 12 months.

Baltimore-region rents last month were down about 0.5 percent from September but up nearly 9 percent from a year earlier, to $1,677 per month on average, Zillow said.

Have a real estate news tip or experience to share? Email me at steve.kilar@baltsun.com.