Daily Israel Report

New Housing In Israel May Lower Prices

In a bid to lower apartment prices, the Housing Ministry has offered land for sale for over 5,000 housing units around the country.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 9/8/2009, 12:26 PM / Last Update: 9/8/2009, 2:00 PM

In a bid to lower apartment prices, Housing Ministry and Israel Lands Authority have put on sale land for more than 5,000 housing units around the country.

“Gift for Apartment Buyers” is the name of the Housing Ministry’s new project to sell land for over 5,000 new apartments around the country. The goal is to bring down apartment prices for young couples and those who cannot afford the rising housing prices - including new immigrants. Just today (Tuesday), over 200 new Israelis arrived in the country from the United States.

The lands were to have been sold in the coming years, but it was decided to release them all at once in order to more dramatically affect the prices.

The largest portion of apartments, 1,000, is reserved for the Jerusalem region, and large amounts will also be sold in Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva and environs. Other cities around the country in which land will be freed up include Afula, Kiryat Gat, Ashdod, Kiryat Motzkin, Netanya, Zikhron Yaakov, Netivot, Yokne’am, Eilat, and a dozen others.

The immediate motivating factors for the initiative are the continuing rise in apartment prices and the dwindling supply of new units. Since taking office five months ago, Housing Minister Ariel Attias has often promised that one of his chief objectives would be to bring down housing prices, especially for young couples.

A spokesman for the Housing Ministry told Israel National News that the apartments can be expected to be completed within three years. It remains to be seen whether they will be offered for the hoped-for lower prices.

Opponents of the plan charge that land is already available for the construction of more than 20,000 units, but that contractors are holding out for even higher prices before building. The spokesman said he is not familiar with this statistic and could not comment.