House prices continue to grow but at a slower rate than previous years, according to the latest House Price Index compiled by Permanent TSB and the ESRI.

The index reveals that the value of house prices nationally rose by 4.8% in the first half of 2004. This compares with growth of 6.9% the same time last year.

House prices in Dublin rose by 4.3% over the last six months, the lowest rate of growth since the index began tracking prices in 1997.

Nationally house prices grew by 11.4% over the last 12 months with the border counties showing the strongest annual average growth at 15.5% over the last 12 months.

In June, the price of houses nationally rose by 0.9%, up from the growth rate of 0.5% recorded in May. However, the figure was lower than the 1.1% recorded a year ago in June 2003.

The average price paid for a house nationally in June of this year was €245,194, up over €11,000 on that recorded in December 2003.

Today's report also showed house completions are at record levels with 80,000 units expected to be built in 2004 compared to 68,819 last year.

Commenting on the recent warning of price correction from the Central Bank, Deputy Chief Executive of Permanent TSB Diarmuid Bradley said while the Central Bank is justified in monitoring the situation closely, he is confident that house price growth would remain moderate.