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Real estate loans rise as foreign investors increase interest also in banking

Loan portfolios to foreign non-residents increased by 32% for the first eight months of 2006, compared to the parallel period in 2005, the Bank of Jerusalem said. During the same period the bank's clientele advanced by 12% and to stand at 3,000 customers. Cash and fixed-asset portfolios under management by the bank were 18% higher in the first eight months of 2006 than during the same period in the previous year.

Foreign investors are primarily interested in real estate, high tech, insurance and banking, the bank noted, with real estate investments rising by 18% from $1.221 million in the first eight months of 2005 to $1.446m. for the January to August 2006 period.

According to the bank, there are strong indications that this trend will continue in 2007, with investments in real estate rising to between 20%-25%, specifically with regard to British buyers who are in the forefront of foreign real estate investors in Israel.

Edwina Baniqued

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