(AGI) Rome, July 3 - House prices have dropped by 10.4 percentin Italy over four years, according to the preliminaryestimates for 2014 from statistics agency ISTAT released onThursday. The decline was due to existing properties, theprices of which fell by 15 percent, while the price of newhousing rose by 0.8 percent. The two-year decline inresidential property prices also continued in the first quarterof 2014. The price of houses bought by families, both forresidential and investment purposes, dropped by 0.7 percentcompared to the previous quarter and by 4.6 percent against thesame period of 2013. The fall, according to ISTAT, was acombination of a 0.8 percent fall in prices on existing homesand a 0.1 percent drop for new ones. The monthly decline isdown on that seen in previous quarters. The annual decline of4.6 percent, down on that for the fourth quarter of 2013, wasdue to a 5.3 percent decrease in the price of existing housingand a 2.6 percent drop for new properties. The annual figuresalso showed an easing in the fall in prices compared toprevious quarters, well down since the big drop of 6 percentrecorded in the first three months of 2013. .