House prices have increased by 270% in the last ten years.

The latest Permanent TSB house price index shows there has been an annual increase in house prices of almost 15% every year since 1996.

Many people are finding it difficult to find an affordable place to live. Hairdresser Billy Guinan describes the prices as unbelievably high.

Prices have risen phenomenally over the past decade.

The latest report shows that 10 years ago the average cost of a house was €75,000 by 2005, the average price of a house had risen to €280,000 equating to an increase of 270%. 1998 showed the largest gain in prices of 30%. While house prices grew by 270% during that period, wages grew by just 70%.

Permanent TSB is confident that the market will remain buoyant as a result of population and employment growth, accompanied by low interest rates.

Denis Casey, Chief Executive of Permanent TSB, says that over the ten year period we have witnessed phenomenal growth in the Irish economy and employment alongside a fall in interest rates and a rapid flow of migrant workers into the country. These factors have placed extra demand on housing which has fed into rising prices.

Ten years ago, the average difference in house prices in Dublin and outside Dublin was €10,000. Today, the difference is €130,000.

The report predicts that house prices will continue to increase by 10% this year. It is predicted that growth in prices will continue to be strong until about 2008 when it is expected to moderate at around 5%.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 20 June 2006. The reporter is Bethan Kilfoil.