New figures published by the Central Bureau of Statistics as part of its Housing in Israel - Data from the Household Expenditure Survey 2014 show again how the proportion of investors in apartments has surged in recent years.
According to the survey figures, the proportion of households owning two or more apartments rose from 3.2% to 9.1% in 2003-2014, with most of the increase taking place starting in 2008. The Central Bureau of Statistics also notes that 70% of those owning two or more apartments in 2014 are in the top three income deciles, and 20% of them own three or more apartments. This is a considerable percentage, given that those 20% amount to 44,000 households - 1.8% of all households.
These figures support the arguments saying that since the global economic crisis and the ensuing interest rate reductions, many investors have turned to the real estate sector to obtain a higher return on their investment. These data also led Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon to raise the purchase tax for real estate investors last June in an attempt to restrain the volume of purchases for investment. As of now, according to figures for the third quarter of 2015 (the latest available figures), it appears that increasing the tax burden on investors did indeed significantly lower the proportion of investors among apartment buyers, but it is too early to say whether this is the beginning of a trend or a one-time occurrence, due among other things to investors buying apartments a few days before the tax hike on this purchases.
The Central Bureau of Statistics figures also show that the proportion of households living in homes that they own fell from 70.2% in 1997 to 67.3% in 2014, while the proportion of renters in Israel rose from 24.3% in 1997 to 27.4% in 2014. It is important to note that while these figures are likely to indicate a change in historical preferences in Israel, meaning that fewer people prefer to rent apartments, rather than buy them, this situation indicates that a matter of necessity is involved, rather than voluntary choice, because fewer people can afford to buy apartments at prices, which have risen only since 2007.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 18, 2015
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