Israel's government has approved extending the "Buyer's Price" (Mechir Lemishtaken) program until June 2020, Israel Hayom reported.
The approval was given after a short discussion, and still requires approval by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
In June, the government is expected to request the program be extended until the end of 2020.
However, how much the program costs to the taxpayer will only become known mid-2020, when 2019's financial reports are published.
The program, which began a few years ago, is believed to have cost 20 billion NIS ($5,762,526,200) due to the cost of the agreements with local authorities, who stood to lose income due to discounts for contractors, building companies, and the eligible buyers.
"The govenrment unanimously approved the suggestion to allocate 36 million NIS ($10,380,922) to grants for buyers and subsidies for developing land via the Buyer's Price program in towns in the periphery," a Finance Ministry statement read. "This decision follows the decision made by the Israel Land Authority Council on November 13, 2019, to extend the program during 2020. This essentially granted official and final approval for its extension around Israel during the year 2020. This decision allows us to create continuity for the plan and offer the market certainty regarding the way the government will continue acting in the housing market in the near future."
September statstics show that over 2,000 transactions for the purchase of new apartments were conducted via the Buyer's Price program. These transactions made up 53% of the total number of transactions for new apartments that month.
"Over 2,000 young couples each month are making their dream of an apartment at a reasonable price come true. We can't allow that to stop," Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Likud) said.
Buyers' Price (Mechir Lemishtaken) offers eligible first-time buyers the opportunity to enter a lottery and win the right to a brand-new, subsidized apartment. According to Kahlon, the program aims to "put an end to the building companies' and contractors' ability to run Israel's housing market."