House prices in Italy continued their upward trend in 2004, according to a recent report from the large real estate agency Tecnocasa. Prices in the second half of last year rose by an average of six per cent in major cities, with Bari in the southern Italian region of Puglia head and shoulders above the rest with an increase of 11.2per cent. By contrast, prices for the whole of 2004 in northern county towns rose on average 5.5 per cent, though they broke the +10 per cent threshold in both central and southern Italy. For the first half of 2004, average city rents rose 3.4 per cent for two-room apartments and 2.8 per cent for three-room flats. Major exceptions to this were seen in Milan and Bologna, which showed slight falls on earlier levels. In the first two months of 2005, national demand for two-room apartments was down 0.1 per cent, but up by the same amount for three-room apartments, and unchanged in all other categories.