Prices in the Balearics continue to be higher than elsewhere in Spain. | Teresa Ayuga

Foreign property investment fell in the first half of this year by 11.2%. Despite this, the General Council of Notaries is highlighting the particular growth in Italian purchasing. It has now exceeded British, especially in Palma. Twenty-three per cent of foreign home purchases between January and June were by Germans. Italians were responsible for 15%, ahead of the British, Swedish, French and Swiss.

There were 3,173 foreign purchases during the first half of the year. These represented 34.1% of total purchases. Between January and June last year there were 3,575 transactions. The market remains buoyant, though, with only the Canaries (39.4%) and Valencia (35.6%) having had higher relative levels.

Italian activity has been prompted by an influx of businesspeople, especially in the restaurant sector, and by enduring economic problems in Italy itself. By contrast, economic recovery in Spain - and the Balearics in particular - has been proving attractive.

In the Canaries, the level of Italian buying is such that residential purchasing has overtaken German to a significant degree. Thirty-one per cent of foreign home buying in the first six months was Italian, while German activity was 12%.

It is expected that the Italian trend will continue. Italy ranks fifth among the number of foreign residents, and the Italian market was one of only two which had continued to grow during the years of economic crisis - the Chinese was the other. An advantageous factor is good air connectivity with both Son Sant Joan and the airport in Ibiza.

The report from the notaries reveals that the Balearics head the list of regions when it comes to prices per square metre. The average is 2,790 euros. Nationally it is 1,687.