The number of new housing units sold fell by 11.4% in the first quarter of 2019 (9%, seasonally adjusted), according to figures published by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The large number of apartments sold in the Buyer Fixed Price Plan framework made Netivot the Israeli city with the largest number of new apartments sold in the first quarter, with 382 of the 5,750 new housing units sold nationwide being in the town. 699 new housing units were sold in Netivot in October 2018-March 2019.
All in all, however, the trend in the number of new housing units sold since the low point reached in March 2018 has been upward. Since then, the number of new housing units sold has risen by a 2.3% monthly average. "This increase reversed the downtrend observed in July 2015-March 2018, when the number of new housing units sold fell by a monthly average of 1.5%, and from 2,710 housing units to 1,670 housing units," the Central Bureau of Statistics report stated. Although the number of new housing units sold in the first quarter of 2019 was fewer than in the preceding quarter, it was still 16% more than the number sold in the first quarter of 2018.
Actually, most of the quantitative difference between the first quarter of 2019 and the fourth quarter of 2018 resulted from December 2018, when the 2,457 new housing units were sold, an exceptionally high number, compared with 1,872 in March 2019.
It appears that the large-scale differences between monthly and quarterly sales of new housing units is mainly caused by sales of new apartments in the Buyer Fixed Price Plan program, in which sales come in waves.
Netivot accounted for 6.6% of all sales of new housing in the first quarter of 2019. But the leader in the new housing sales in October 2018-March 2019 was Rosh HaAyin, with 720 housing units sold in the town, amounting to 5.9% of nationwide new housing sales during the period, followed by Netivot (699 new apartment sold), Or Yehuda (696), and Tel Aviv (663).
The Buyer Fixed Price Plan has changed the pattern in housing purchases at the district level. The southern district, where most of the deals in the plan took place, is maintaining a high level of deals (a monthly average of 250), while other districts in the outlying areas (the Haifa and northern districts) experienced a fall in sales.
The supply of new housing for sale continues to drop. According to interim figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics, there were 25,590 unsold new housing units at the end of the first quarter of 2019, the lowest number since May 2017. The change is attributable to the surplus of new housing sales over housing starts, which have been slowing recently.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 14, 2019
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