The past three months have seen a significant increase in new building starts, the Central Statistics Bureau reported Wednesday. Construction began on 22,000 housing units in the first half of 2011, a 15% increase over the first half of 2010 and 6% increase over late 2010.
More than one-third of the new homes are being built in the Central District, where housing is in particularly high demand. The biggest increase, however, was in the Southern District, which saw a 55% rise in construction starts.
Housing Minister Ariel Attias expressed satisfaction with the figures. Increasing the number of housing units available is the best way to bring prices down, he said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded as well. “The trend regarding the increase in construction starts reflects my government's accelerated and successful activity since the beginning of its term,” he stated.
He added, “The steps that have already been taken in the real estate market, and the recently-approved national housing committees law and Israel Land Administration reform, have contributed – and will continue to contribute – to greatly increasing the supply of apartments, and a subsequent decline in housing prices, around the country.”
The issue of housing has been in the spotlight this summer as protesters take to the streets demanding that the government work to lower the cost of living, and particularly the soaring price of housing.