Property prices continued to fall in April and there is no sign of a recovery with apartments now worth less than half of what they were valued at in the boom

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show the annual rate of decrease is accelerating. In the year to April, property prices fell 12.2%, nationally. This compares with a decline of 11.9% in March.

They figures show property continued to fall in price in April - by 1.0%. This compares with a decline of 1.7% in March and a decrease of just 0.7% in April of last year.

Overall, property prices have fallen 40% from their highest levels in 2007.

Dublin prices fell by 0.7% in April and were 13% lower than a year ago.

Overall they are down 46% on peak. 

But the new figures are a bigger blow for owners of apartments which are now down 53% on their peak prices in February 2007.

Excluding Dublin, prices fell by 1.3% in April, a drop of 11.7% from a year ago. This compares with a monthly decline of 0.5% in April of last year.

Outside of Dublin, the fall from the peak is just over 36%. Economists predict property outside the capital has still some way to go before recovering. 

Stephen McCarthy, managing director of Space which conducted the distressed property auction in the Shelbourne Hotel in April, said he didn't think property prices would recover until the banks started to lend again. 

"Banking is going to play a major part in the recovery of house prices," he said. In terms of recovery, it's chicken and egg, if they start lending the market might start to move. But I'm not sure there is money in the system. 

"If there was money people would buy. There is demand but there just isn't a supply of credit," said McCarthy.

The company is holding a second auction of distressed properties on July 7 with 87 properties going under the hammer including one on the prestigious Ailesbury Road with a reserve not exceeding €1.45m. A house a few doors up was bought for €8.5m in 2007 by the fallen property developer Derek Quinlan.

Irish Banking Federation figures released in May show the number of mortgages issued in the first quarter of 2011 was down 53% on the previous year.

The CSO's residential property price index is designed to measure the change in the average level of prices paid for residential properties sold in Ireland.

The index is mix-adjusted to allow for the fact that different types of property are sold in different periods and starts from 2005.

The index shows that property prices increased every month from April 2005 to July 2007.

They have decreased every month from October 2007.