The Haifa district is the only one in Israel to show a distinct rise in the number of sales of new apartments in the first two months of 2009, reports www.mynet.co.il. Despite sharp falls in sales around the rest of the country, Haifa reported a 9.1 percent rise in the number of new apartments sold in the first two months of this year compared with the first two months of 2008. According to the report, 180 new apartments were sold in Haifa in January and February this year, compared with 165 in the same two months last year. By contrast, in the same period the number of sales of new apartments in Israel overall fell by 23%, with a 25% fall in Tel Aviv, a 22% fall in the central district, and a 30% fall in the northern district. No explanation was offered for the rise in sales in Haifa, but the report pointed out that at the end of February, there were 586 new apartments for sale in the city, 39% fewer than at the same time last year. The report said this indicated that builders and contractors were putting new projects on hold and that this would ultimately cause a shortage of apartments and a likely rise in prices. The report also said that despite the rise in the number of sales in Haifa earlier this year, the city still contributed only 10% of all sales and most activity was occurring in the center of the country, with 40% of all sales of new apartments in the central district and 25% of all sales in Tel Aviv alone.