Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer is signaling he's ready to stave off a potential housing bubble like the one that triggered the U.S. housing collapse, even as the government focuses on re-election.

The central bank announced home loan limits this week while at the same time unexpectedly reducing the benchmark rate to the lowest in 22 months. The directives set a maximum loan-to-value for the first time, restricting mortgages to 50 percent for investors, 75 percent for those who have never purchased a home before and 70 percent for everyone else.

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