Ze'ev Elkin, the new minister of construction and housing, recognizes that home prices will rise in the short term. Speaking in Eilat at the conference of the Israel Builders Association and the Fund for the Encouragement of the Construction Industry in Israel, Elkin said, "It's no secret, although the public isn't feeling it yet, that we are in a renewed bout of the housing crisis. We are on the way to higher prices."
"I know what the building starts were and what the price rises were in sales by the Israel Land Authority. The headlines we have seen are nothing compared with what is going to happen over the coming year. The appropriate image is the Six Day War versus the Yom Kippur War. The last Israeli government neglected housing, and that will lead to a substantial rise in prices," the minister continued.
Elkin spoke about the measures he would introduce to accelerate activity in the construction sector. "There's no one magic solution," he said. "The illusion I hear from the planning institutions about there being a sufficient stock of housing units is wrong. I fought for extending the work of the National Committee for Planning and Building Preferred Housing Sites. We must get back to a higher rate of housing unit planning.
"It's true that there are surpluses, but that is mainly in the periphery of the country. When there is planning on paper it isn't always doable. The National Committee for Planning and Building Preferred Housing Sites will make it possible to speed up the planning process. It will also be an incentive for the regional planning committees, which want projects to come to them rather than to the National Committee for Planning and Building Preferred Housing Sites.
"The local authorities rightly come to the government and argue that it is not meeting its obligations under the roof agreements. I have spoken about this to the people in the Ministry of Finance Budgets Division. The government will have to provide for the infrastructure. Local authority heads need to know that transport projects will actually materialize. This is my second goal. In the coalition talks as well it was recognized that we are committed to approving the planning of 300,000 housing units."
Elkin was cautious in his remarks, but he expressed support for extending the National Outline Plan 38 for reinforcing buildings against earthquakes while permitting additional floors to be built on them. "We have to continue with solutions such as National Outline Plan 38. Ultimately, it's one more solution for expanding the housing stock, as at the same time is the urban renewal track. The government has to take substantial steps," Elkin said.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 17, 2021
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