House prices have never been so affordable in Ireland, according to a new survey. Average house prices have slumped 27 per cent in the past year, and there are over 300,000 empty homes throughout the country.

Prices are expected to fall even further as major cutbacks in pay for government workers and continued high unemployment lead to further reductions in the property market.  

Now, only 13.4 per cent of a couple's combined income is needed to meet a mortgage, down from 26 per cent at the height of the boom, new figures show.

Economist Annette Hughes stated a recovery was not likely.

"Any recovery is some way off in my opinion. Not until there is evidence that house prices have stabilized will we see large numbers going back into the market," she said.

"The labor market remains weak and there is anecdotal evidence that pay levels for some private sector workers have fallen by up to 20 per cent or more, while pay in the public sector will fall by up to 6.4 per cent in 2010 alone for persons earning up to €70,000 ($100,000), according to the December Budget."

 "Prospective buyers are reluctant to enter the market, on the expectation that further declines in house prices are possible."