The dramatic decline in the Irish residential property market accelerated until the end of April, according to new data from the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The Residential Property Price Index wrote this week that the price of Irish homes was on average 16.4 percent lower than a year earlier and that comes after a 16.3 percent annual fall in March.

According to the Irish Times Dublin saw the sharpest decline, with property there down 17.3 percent, compared with 16.1 percent for the rest of the country. Dublin apartment prices have also dropped by 15.3 percent.

Goodbody Stockbrokers said there is evidence of what they call a 'two-speed' market developing.

'This divergence pointed to increases in rents in the urban areas of Dublin and Cork while rents outside of this continued to contract,' it said in a statement.

'However, in terms of sales prices Dublin has experienced the most severe declines from the peak, down by 57 percent compared to a 47 percent decline for outside the capital, with Dublin apartments the worst performing category, where despite the rise in prices in the last two months, are still down 60 per cent from the peak.'

Meanwhile Bloxham International Financial Services chief economist Alan McQuaid told the Irish Times the latest figures were a touch disappointing.'

'Although the March/April data for Dublin are a step in the right direction we don’t anticipate any significant improvement in the overall country-wide housing market until the employment situation gets better and we see a return to some sort of ‘normal’ credit lending from the banks, which still seems a long way off,' McQuaid said.

'A lot has been written recently about houses now being affordable again, but in our view that is irrelevant if you have an unemployment rate of over 14 per cent and no real signs of it improving. Following the drop of almost 13 per cent in house prices in 2011, we are now looking for another double-digit decline in 2012.'

Irish property prices have fallen by 50 percent from their peak in early 2007. Dublin house prices have dropped by 55 percent and apartments have dropped by 60 percent from their 2007 levels. Residential property prices throughout the country have fallen by 47 percent.

Irish house prices fell in value at the second-fastest rate in Europe in 2012Google Images