Housing Minister Uri Ariel
Housing Minister Uri Ariel Flash 90

Construction was down this year, but expect a big jump in new homes in the coming two years, Housing Minister Uri Ariel said Sunday. Statistics for the first nine months of 2014 showed that construction was down 7.4% this year compared to the same period in 2013, while the number of completed apartments was 1.8% lower during the latter period.

However, said Ariel, there was a significant increase in the number building starts granted in 2014, and the Ministry predicts that a total of 46,000 homes will be completed between January and October of 2015. In total, 32,850 homes were completed during the first nine months of 2014, lower than the 35,470 during the same period in 2013. 2015, however, will beat both years handily, Ariel said.

In addition, he said, the outlook for 2016 and beyond is even rosier. “We are granting many more building starts these days, as more land is released for development,” Ariel said. “We have seen double digit growth in the rate of land opened for development this year. We are working hard to increase the number of homes available.”

Among the incentives for the increased activity, Ariel said, was the anticipated increase in demand for apartments, especially among first-time home buyers, under the government's new Zero VAT and “Target Price” programs, both of which aim to lower the cost of homes.