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Friday, October 24, 2008

Expensive real estate?

I'll bet you never thought of Ramallah as being an expensive place to live, especially in the current real estate market. Come on guys, would you invest in real estate in Ramallah?

Well, the World Bank believes that you would if more of it were available, and guess whom they're blaming for it not being available. Yup - the evil Joooos.
The price of property in the West Bank is rocketing beyond the reach of most local businesses and home buyers, pushed up by a weak dollar and Israeli control of large chunks of the territory, a World Bank report said Thursday.
Let's stop there for a minute. The Jooos don't control the dollar - contrary to what all the neo-Nazis think. But the dollar was at NIS 4.2 to the dollar in August 2007 and by March 2008 it had dropped to about NIS 3.28 to the dollar (I know this because most of my income is in dollars and most of my expenses are in NIS and I am getting positively creamed by this but the World Bank doesn't care about me because I'm just an evil Joooo). But the dollar has been making a comeback of late and as of Thursday afternoon's official fix it's at NIS 3.841 to the dollar. So how is the dollar preventing the poor 'Palestinians' from buying?
The 41-page paper said local government data from the commercial and political center of Ramallah indicates the value of prime downtown commercial plots has doubled each year since 2005, hitting the current average of about $372 a square foot.
When real estate goes up in value, it's either because it's a good neighborhood and people in the area are doing well or because there are a lot of foreign investors. So why is the World Bank complaining? And by the way, why aren't they complaining about the fact that Jerusalem real estate prices have also gone up significantly since 2005, although certainly not at that pace. And why have prices in Ramallah gone up since 2005 if nothing good has happened there (oh year, Arafat died in November 2004 - heh). But it's all the Jooos' fault, isn't it?
Israel, citing the need to prevent Palestinian attacks inside Israel and on Jewish settlers in the West Bank, has kept large swaths of Palestinian land and roads off limits to Palestinians. It also maintains a complex network of checkpoints on roads that remain open to West Bankers.

That leaves the vast majority of Palestinians chasing land in the remaining 41 percent of the territory, which is home to at least 90 percent of the population, the World Bank said.

"As a result, land prices are shooting up and in certain towns are becoming prohibitive for all but high value commercial activities, or high rise apartment buildings," the report said. "Residential development is crowding out other economic activities on scarce plots available for development, yet there remains a housing shortage."
What 'large swaths' suddenly became 'off limits' in 2005 that weren't off limits in 2003 or 2001 or 1993 or 1968? Hmmm.
In addition to the Israeli squeeze on the West Bank, the World Bank said, property prices in the territory are being nudged up by the many Palestinians living abroad and sending money home, some of it slated for investment.

"The real value of domestic cash savings, usually in US dollars or Jordanian dinars, are threatened by the falling dollar, creating pressure to convert these cash savings into stable investments," the report said. "With few profitable options in the productive sectors, much capital is invested in land, putting added pressure on prices."
Just like what's happening in Jerusalem and in a lot of other cities in the world. So why is the World Bank blaming Israel? Because it's fashionable....


At 6:52 AM, Blogger rickismom said...

A very good post
I guess they aren't interested in the high prices in west Jerusalem, either...

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

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