Irish households generated gross saving of €8.8bn in 2012, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office.
That was down from a total of €9.8bn in the previous year.
The percentage of household savings as a proportion of gross disposable income fell from 11.2% in 2011 to 10.2% last year.
The equivalent ratio in EU households fell from 11.1% to 10.9% during the same period.
Household saving continued to be used primarily to pay down debt in 2012, the study concludes, but was also used to fund the substantially lower levels of investment in property without recourse to borrowing.