Home sales fell 22% in August 2013, compared with July and 15% compared with August 2012, states the Ministry of Finance in its "Red Lights" macroeconomic survey. It adds that preliminary data for September indicate a further drop in home sales. It also states that the expiry of the Jerusalem grant, which awarded NIS 100,000 to first-time homebuyers in Jerusalem, in July had a major impact on the data.
The drop in home sales was nationwide, except in Beersheva. There were 57% fewer home sales in Jerusalem in August, compared with July, and 22% fewer than in August last year. The drop in second-hand home sales, from its peak in July, was especially strong, which the Ministry of Finance attributed to the expiration of the Jerusalem grant.
New home sales fell 30% nationwide in August, compared with July. New home sales in Jerusalem were down 75%. Beersheva was the only area with an increase in new home sales - up 17% in August, over July.
Home purchases by investors also fell by 20% nationwide in August. Haifa was the only exception. "The drop in home purchases by investors was especially strong in areas with high prices," says the Ministry of Finance, citing a 36% drop in purchases in Tel Aviv and the Sharon.
Home sales by investors also fell 25% nationwide in August, compared with July. Home sales by investors in Jerusalem were down 64%. "A large proportion of the homes sold in Jerusalem in recent months were bought by people eligible for the Jerusalem grant. For example 65% of the apartments bought from investors in Jerusalem in July were purchased by young couples, compared with 18% by this segment in August," says the Ministry of Finance.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 13, 2013
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