December home sales in Israel hit 3-year high

Israeli housing Photo: Tamar Matsafi

10,900 homes were sold in December 2018, 25% more than in December 2017, the Ministry of Finance reports.

10,900 homes were sold in Israel in December 2018, 25% more than in December 2017 and 18% more than in November 2018.

The Ministry of Finance chief economist reported today's figures showing the most monthly deals since March 2016. The figures show another peak was reached: 1,500 home sales in the framework of the Buyer Fixed Price Plan, "the highest level of sales in this program since it began," the survey stated.

The number of real estate deals in 2018 totaled 99,400, about the same as in 2017. The Ministry of Finance chief economist's figures show that 9,400 homes were purchased under the Buyer Fixed Price Plan in 2018 (plus a smaller number of homes purchased under Target Price Plan). Excluding these subsidized sales, deals totaled 90,000 in 2018, 4% fewer than in 2017.

Sales of new homes totaled 3,800 in December, the highest number since June 2015, including 1,500 purchases under the Buyer Fixed Price Plan and 2,300 purchases on the free market from contractors, the most since September 2016.

"In comparison with December 2017, the number sales by contractors increased, both on the free market and including the Buyer Fixed Price Plan, by 25% and 32%, respectively," the survey stated.

The increase in free market sales by contractors was concentrated in three land tax areas: the central region, Rehovot, and Hadera. "The steep rise in sales by contractors in December was also reflected in the potential cash flow, which reached NIS 6.4 billion, its highest level since June 2015. This was 30% more in real terms than in December 2017," the survey states.

Receding investors

Investors purchased 1,400 homes in December 2018, the same number as in December 2017, but 9% more than in November 2018. This does not signal a change in the trend among investors, however, many of whom long ago left the Israeli market. The survey states that the increase in the number of homes purchased by investors in December 2018 in comparison with the preceding month was mainly concentrated in Jerusalem, Or Akiva, and Rehovot. Home purchases by investors in the Netanya area, on the other hand, fell 40% in comparison with December 2017 and 34% in comparison with November 2018.

Investors purchased 13,800 housing units in all of 2018, 21% fewer than in 2017 and the fewest such purchases since at least the turn of the century.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 11, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Israeli housing Photo: Tamar Matsafi
Israeli housing Photo: Tamar Matsafi
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