THE average price of a house in Ireland is now €70,000 less than at the peak of the property boom, according to new figures.
Dublin and commuter belt homeowners have been particularly badly hit by the ongoing downturn in house prices.
The latest Permanent tsb/ESRI monthly figures on house sales show the average price of a house nationally in June was just over €240,000.
This is down from €311,000 in February 2007 when the market peaked.
In Dublin, the average price of a home is now just under €320,000. This is a drop of over 15pc on the same time last year, considerably worse than the 10pc average fall outside of the capital.
It is expected that the trend will continue for the immediate future, said a spokesperson for Permanent TSB.
"The index today confirms the pattern of recent months. Poor demand and significant oversupply have combined to cancel out the benefits of lower interest rates to mean that prices continue to weaken. This pattern is likely to persist for some time," they said.
This year has seen a worsening in the decline in house prices compared to 2008.
In the first six months, there has been a reduction of 7.7pc across the country, compared to five per cent in the same period last year. The commuter counties of Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow dropped almost 20pc in the year to June, bringing the average to €245,000.
Last night, the Professional Insurance Brokers Association said research had shown the top three reasons preventing people from buying homes were the non-availability of finance, expectations that prices will fall further and lack of job security.
"Unfortunately there is every indication that banks will behave too conservatively with overzealous lending criteria at a time when the indications are that property prices are bottoming out," said director of mortgage services Rachel Doyle.
"Banks must be prevailed upon to behave responsibly and not ratchet up interest rates unreasonably when the ECB is likely to keep rates low for some time," she added.
Report by Shane Hickey - Irish Independent