Jewish Home, Yesh Atid Snipe Over Housing Sales

Housing Minister Uri Ariel said that some 50,000 housing units came on the market in 2014 - an all-time record.

Moshe Cohen ,

Construction in Jerusalem (illustrative)
Construction in Jerusalem (illustrative)
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Housing Minister Uri Ariel, along with Israel Lands Administration head Bentzi Liberman, on Sunday said that they had enabled the marketing of some 50,000 housing units in 2014, mostly in the center of the country.

Ariel said at a press conference that Israelis had something to celebrate. “2014 was the biggest year ever for apartment availability. We marketed 50,500 top quality housing units, after we eliminated the roadblocks to their availability. We believe now, as we did in the past, that the markets can take care of high housing prices, and we made sure to market at least 60% of the homes in high-demand areas to help temper prices there.”

Referring to the failed plan proffered by former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Ariel said that “when others were talking about zero Value Added sales tax (VAT) on homes, we were working hard to increase the availability of apartments, and to lower prices. Instead of aiming for a 'target price' – yet another plan that has not succeeded – we concentrated on increasing supply,” Ariel added.

In a statement, Lapid's Yesh Atid took credit for the marketing binge. “The sales of these units could not have taken place without the leadership of Yair Lapid, who headed the Housing Cabinet,” the statement said. “Our housing plan ensured a large supply of homes in the center of the country, as well as in Kiryat Gat in the south and Kiryat Bialik in the north, in addition to plans to assist young couples buy their first home.

In its own statement, Ariel's Jewish Home said that “the real breakthrough in home construction came after Lapid was fired as Finance Minister, and this is not accidental. Until Lapid left, a total of 33,000 apartments were made available for sale, but in the two months that he has not been Finance Minister and has left Ariel alone to do his job, 17,000 were made available. It's Lapid's exit, not arrival, that enabled Israel to set a record in marketing homes.”