"Levying a purchase tax on people moving upmarket isn't a tax; it's a fine," said Israel Builders Association president Nissim Bublil today at the association's annual conference at Herod's Hotel in Eilat. "It's unacceptable that a couple with a new baby and needs another room should have to pay an additional NIS 80,000 in taxes, or someone who moves to another town and buys a home at the same prices should pay taxes on it."
Bublil said that he hoped that the purchase tax proposal was a trial balloon "which was put in the budget by mistake, and would be removed from it at the right time. I also don’t understand how this initiative fits in with the government's declared policy of supporting certain classes in Israel."
Bublil said that the solution to the housing shortage was to tackle key problems, such as the marketing of land, financing, importing foreign workers, and building permits regulations. "When I began working 30 years ago, we got a building permit within three months. An unskilled person needed six months. 30 years have passed since then 30 reforms, and now it takes three years to get a building permit. I say, stop with the reforms. The government is a new government, and when they wanted to solve the housing problem in the past, they knew to tell us to building 100,000 apartments a year during the immigration from Russia. We're now building 40,000 apartments a year."
Bublil said that Ministry of Housing and Construction data which state that over 80,000 housing units are under construction is misleading, because it does not means an increase in housing starts, but the longer construction time because of the lack of workers in the industry.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 23, 2013
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