The steady fall in property prices has wiped €25,000 off the value of the average house, new figures show.
The decline in property prices over the past year has now hit 9pc, with economists saying yesterday house prices were likely to fall by another 7pc by the end of the year.
New figures from Permanent TSB/ESRI show that house prices peaked in February 2007, but by the same month this year, the average price paid for a house nationally had fallen by €25,000 to €283,650.
The index shows the average house price fall in the month of February was 0.8pc.
Permanent TSB’s Niall O’Grady said the price decrease over the first two months of the year was greater than many people expected.
“We are also seeing that some sellers are finally grasping the point that people are interested in buying properties if the prices sought are realistic. This, in turn, is leading to more market transactions compared to the last three months of 2007.”
Goodbody Stockbrokers economist Deirdre Ryan said prices had declined each month for the last 12 months.
She said the Permanent TSB/ESRI index reflected transactions that took place in the last three months of 2007, so there was likely to be more house price falls in the months ahead.
“While there has been a pickup in activity levels relative to that period, as suggested by our recent Housing Market Survey, there has been little evidence to suggest that prices have bucked their softening trend.”
Ms Ryan predicted that house prices would fall by another 7pc this year.
The index shows that Dublin house prices fell by 1.1pc last month, while there was a reduction of 1.3pc outside the city.
Over the past year, Dublin house prices fell back by 8.9pc, while the annualised decline for houses outside the capital was 8.8pc.
The average price for a house in Dublin in February was €390,877, while outside the city it was €243,826. The equivalent prices last December were €397,507 and €249,359, the survey indicates.
House prices for new and second-hand houses both fell back by 0.4pc in February this year. Over the past year, the fall in new houses was 6pc, but second-hand houses fell 9.3pc.
The average price for a new house in February was €287,913, while that paid for a second-hand house was €283,259.
Goodbody’s Ms Ryan said a recent housing market survey her firm had carried out showed some increase in homeloan lending, but stressed that the high level of unsold houses would maintain downward pressure on prices.