Tuesday, October 26, 2004

French Jews flock to buy Israeli apartments

An Israeli apartment fair by leading contractors in Paris last week has posted an unprecedented success. The companies told 'Globes' that they had sold scores of apartments during the fair, and were negotiating the sale of scores more. Thousands of French Jews filled the fair's hall at the Maison Israel-France in downtown Paris, with buyers lining up outside companies' sales offices.

Ashdar said it had sold eight apartments, mostly in Ashdod, and was negotiating the sale of fourteen more. Contractor Yigal Damari said he had sold four apartments in Ashdod and Tel Aviv and was negotiating more deals. Bonei Hatichon Civil Engineering and Infrastructures (TASE:BOTI) also concluded deals, but declined to disclose details. Fair participants Azorim, Nitsba Holdings (TASE:NTBA) and Avrahami reported interest in apartments and agreements in principle on sales.

An Africa-Israel Investments (TASE:AFIL) sales manager told 'Globes' that although it had not signed any deals, 25 people said they would come to Israel to conclude negotiations. Mishab Housing Construction and Development also said many people would visit its sites in Modi'in and Givat Shmuel to pursue negotiation.

Discount Mortgage Bank (TASE:DMBK) has granted 30 mortgages in the past month to French Jews who bought apartments in the fair, Discount Mortgage Bank CEO Anat Keinan and deputy CEO Issacar Kaufman told 'Globes'. Keinan said demand from overseas investors was unprecedented.

Keinan added that scores more French Jews were negotiating to buy apartments following the fair, and that the bank would likely grant scores of mortgages to these buyers soon.