Mortgage-taking in Israel reached NIS 5.834 billion in December 2018, a 3.5-year high, 15% more than both in December 2017 and in November 2018. The number of mortgages also jumped to 8,400, compared with 7,600 in December 2017 and 7,200 in November 2018, according to Bank of Israel figures.
The mortgage market stagnated in 2018, but reports published by the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Finance chief economist towards the end of the year (except for December, about which no reviews have yet been published) show a surge in the volume of deals. It is believed that deals in the framework of the Buyer Fixed Price Plan accounted for a substantial proportion of the increase, but the Buyer Fixed Price Plan cannot account for all of the increase. It appears that part of the rise is due to mortgage refinancing and mortgages for recently purchased new properties.
The downtrend in mortgages in the period from June 2015 until May 2017 reversed in June 2017, with the already existing new direction reaching a peak in December 2018.
According to Central Bureau of Statistics figures, starting in March 2018, the number of new homes sold rose by a monthly average of 2.2%, from 1,700 new homes to 2,100 new homes in November, following an average monthly decrease of 1.4% from 2,780 in June 2015 to 1,720 in February 2018.
Another important figure is continuation of the trend towards taking mortgages with relatively high leverage. One third of all mortgages taken in December reached a level of 60% or higher.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 27, 2019
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