Housing prices in the Haifa area have been in a slump for the past decade, but now, just as the economic recession begins to bite in the rest of the country, prices in Haifa have begun rising, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. The prices rose by a surprising 20 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, and real estate agents said it seemed the recession was driving buyers out of the center of the country to the north, reports www.mynet.co.il. According to the report, the CBS found that the average price of an apartment in Israel in the first quarter of 2009 was NIS 802,000, a rise of 6.35% from the NIS 754,000 average price in the first quarter of 2008. The CBS also found that prices rose in the Krayot by 16.8 percent. The report said the rising trend was particularly noticeable in Haifa in large, five-room apartments, which rose by 21%, and in the Krayot in small apartments of 2.5 to three rooms, which also rose by 21 percent.