PROPERTY prices continue to race ahead putting huge pressure on those trying to buy in a market that shows now signs of slowing down.
The surging property market saw prices nationwide jump up by 15.2pc in the year to March, according to the Central Statistics Office.
In Dublin prices rose by 12.7pc and prices outside Dublin up by 17.3pc.
The latest price rises come as ICS Mortgages has again increased its lending rates, with a rise of 1pc for three and five-year fixeds across all loan to values.
Property prices are now just 2pc lower than the peak they achieved during the Celtic Tiger bubble era in 2007.
The latest rise is seven-year high in the rate of increase.
The region outside of Dublin that saw the largest rise in house prices was the Border at 25.1pc
At the other end of the scale, house prices in the Mid-East increased by 15.2pc.
Prices are surging outside of the major urban centres as the work-from-home option continues to draw people into rural areas.
The national monthly increase was 0.6pc, down on the rate of rise in previous months.
Economist with KBC Bank Austin Hughes said this may be a “tentative sign” that the rate of property price increase is easing off.
He said interest rate rises being announced by some lenders, with indications that European interest rates may rise as early as July could take some of the heat out of the market.
Mr Hughes said property prices may be up again next month but could then start to ease later in the year.
Households paid a median, or mid-point price, of €285,000 for a residential property in the year to March.
The lowest median price paid for a dwelling was €136,500 in Longford, while the highest was €601,000 in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, the CSO said.
Overall, the national index is 2.1pc lower than its highest level in 2007.
Dublin residential property prices are 10.1pc lower than their February 2007 peak, while residential property prices in the Rest of Ireland are 3.3pc lower than their May 2007 peak.
Overall, prices of new dwellings have risen by 84.4pc from their trough in the middle of 2013.
Prices of existing dwellings are now 121.8pc higher than at their trough in 2012.
Meanwhile, ICS Mortgages has announced the second rise in its mortgage.
Its three and five-year fixed rates will increase by 1pc across all loan-to-value (LTV) bands from today. Variable rates will remain unchanged for now.
It comes just two months after it increased its three and five-year rates.
The three-year rate for those with a 90pc loan to value will go to 3.55pc, with 3.69pc the new rate for five years for those with the same LTV.
It comes just weeks after Avant Money increased some of its fixed rates.
The European Central Bank could increase rates as soon as July, a move that would hit some 500,000 homeowners with trackers or variable rates.