Two reports on the price of houses say there were declines of 3%-4% in the first three months of this year.

Property website Daft.ie says the average asking price for houses now stands at €210,000, 43% below its peak level.

Myhome.ie puts the figure at €260,000 and says further reductions are likely during 2011.

The websites' figures do vary according to the type of properties they advertise, but both point to ongoing decline in house values across almost the entirety of the State.

Daft.ie says asking prices fell 3.1% so far this year, while Myhome.ie puts the figure at 4%.

Myhome.ie says the average price of €260,000 is down from just over €300,000 a year ago.

Compared to 12 months ago, Myhome.ie claims average asking prices have slumped by €54,000 in Dublin.

Daft.ie says that of the 3,000 properties that were on sale 15 months ago, one in three is still on the market. The figure is one in six in Dublin.

Both websites say that on top of all the other pressures on house prices, such as accessing mortgage finance and falls in take-home pay, rising interest rates will keep the housing market depressed.

A decision on rates is due on Thursday when an increase in mortgage costs is expected as a consequence of the European Central Bank's base rate rising by an anticipated 0.25% to 1.25%.