Property prices increased by 0.5% in Dublin last month, according to the latest Central Statistics Office figures.

This means that the cost of a home in the capital is now 2.1% higher than it was a year ago.

However, prices outside of Dublin fell by 1.6% last month. That weaker performance dragged down the national figure, which showed a decline of 0.6% last month.

Overall in the year to January, residential property prices fell nationally by 3.3%.

House prices in Dublin have fallen 54% from their peak in early 2007, while apartments in the capital are 61% lower than they were in February 2007.

Residential property prices, which include both houses and apartments, in Dublin are 56% lower than their highest level in early 2007.

The fall in the price of residential properties in the rest of Ireland is somewhat lower at 47%.

The CSO survey measures property transactions which have been funded by mortgages and excludes cash purchases.

Davy economist David McNamara said the first annual rise in Dublin property prices probably reflects the lack of supply in many Dublin areas, particularly in housing.

The economist also pointed out that cash buyers account for close to half of the current market and the CSO index does not include these sales. ''The index remains an unreliable estimate of prices until such time as cash transactions are included'', he added.

Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said that it is difficult to make a call on the housing market at this stage. ''But we think any overall drop in prices in 2013 if at all, is likely to be in low single digits after the 12.6% fall in 2012,'' he said.