What next for property prices?

The laws of gravity dictate that what goes up, must come down.

But when it comes to the property market, the same rules don't have to necessarily apply.

And so in recent months, as the rate of increase in the price of homes has softened and the economy has come under pressure, questions have begun to arise around whether a drop in prices could be on the cards.

That hypothesis was given more credence by research contained in the most recent ESRI Quarterly Economic Commentary, which suggested the residential property market here could be overvalued by as much as 7%.

The institute did not go as far as to suggest prices may fall - it said it was too early to tell. But it did say that the rate of price increases is likely to "moderate substantially".