Second only to London, the cost of renting a flat in Rome has gone through the roof, suggests a new study by the national real estate federation of France (FNAIM). On average, renting an apartment in the eternal city costs 21.70 per sq m, below London (35) but well above Paris (19.80) and Geneva (19.40). At the other end of the scale, the residents of Stockholm (9.90), Amsterdam (9.70) and Brussels (7.90) are laughing all the way to the bank. Its clearly but unfortunately true, says Claudio Minelli, head of heritage at Rome city council and also in charge of housing policy. Rents have gone up out of all proportion in the last few years, he adds, and the problem is not only affecting the lower classes but also the so-called middle classes, according to our research. But its not all bad news, says Dario de Simone of Gabetti estate agents. Prices may have peaked and in some places have even fallen by up to four per cent for apartments in the suburbs, according to his companys figures.