Since 2005, the private housing prices peaked in the second quarter of 2008 when the cost of a square metre of constructed property stood at 2'427 euros.
Across the country
At a national level, there was a 7.2 percent year-on-year downturn in the price of private housing in the first quarter of 2012 to settle at 1'649.3 euros per square metre. The Ministry's report signalled that housing prices were returning to levels registered at the end of 2004.
In comparison with the final quarter of 2011, the national downturn in house prices had been 3.1 percent.
The year-on-year downturn revealed in the report shows that the rate at which house prices are declining is becoming sharper than the level at which they fell in 2011. Prices are now a very long way from the heights they had reached four years ago when the average per square metre was 2'101.4 euros.
Looking at the Ministry's historic register of house prices, the average price per square metre has fallen by 21.5 percent since the peak reached in 2008.
To date, 2009 has been the year when the steepest quarterly decline in price was recorded, more than 8 percent; although in 2010, the downturn steadied to 4%. In 2011, the rate of decline started to quicken with quarterly downturns of 7 percent and the start of 2012 indicates this may steepen further.