Housing Prices in Israel Continue to Soar

Housing prices in Israel soared last year by 5%, new figures published Sunday demonstrate, with a 2.7% increase in the last quarter (April to June) alone.

According to a report released by the Chief Government Appraiser, the average price of four-room apartments rose by 2.7%, while consumer prices grew by only 1.3%. 

Despite the heady increase in housing prices, Israeli continue to buy – likely from the fear prices will simply continue to rise – with mortgages taken out in June totaling 7 billion shekels ($1.75 billion). 

"This quarter saw a sharp increase in prices as compared to the previous year," appraiser Tal Alderoti said"This trend indicates that the public still does not anticipate a fall in prices in the near future."

There were variations in the figures in different parts of the country.

While housing prices in Israel's southernmost city of Eilat have barely changed in the past year, prices in Beersheva shot up by 14%, as the "capital" of the Negev continues to develop. 

Figures show that Tel Aviv has not registered a significant change in the past year – though with prices there already sky-high, it that won't make much difference for first-time buyers – while Ramle saw a slight decline of 1%. 

But otherwise, most regions are seeing continued rises, including Ashkelon, Netanya and Jerusalem, where house prices increased by 8-11%.

According to Alderoti, the reason for the continued leap in housing prices is the public's impatience with waiting for new housing policies promised during March elections. 

The report also found that the government's measures to reduce housing prices – for instance, increasing purchasing tax at the end of June – actually resulted in an increase of real estate transactions before the new tax was implemented. 

The appraiser concluded by expressing pessimism over the government's chances of success in reducing houses in the near future. 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/199514

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