New home sales in Israel up 42% in 2019

New apartments under construction  / Photo: Shutterstock, Shutterstock.com

32,456 new homes were sold in 2019 as mortgage taking reached an all-time high.

December, which broke all of the records for new home purchases, brought the number of new homes purchased in 2019 to the highest level in at least two decades. 32,456 new homes were bought in 2019, 42% more than in 2018, according to figures published by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The leading city in new homes purchased was Ramat Gan with 1,583, followed by Herzliya and Tel Aviv.

According to trend data, demand for new homes has been rising since hitting the bottom in March 2018, with the number of new homes purchased rising by an average monthly rate of 2.5%.

The Central Bureau of Statistics' figures supplement the recent data published in the past few days by the Bank of Israel showing record-breaking mortgages taken in 2019, and by the Ministry of Finance chief economist, who also reported the large number of homes purchased in December.

A large proportion of the homes purchased were under the Buyer Fixed Price Plan. The Central Bureau of Statistics did not state what proportion of the homes were sold at subsidized prices, but other figures published by the Central Bureau of Statistics and the chief economist show a proportion of around 45%. The Central Bureau of Statistics emphasizes the methodological changes in its count of the number of new homes purchased.

One figure that supports this assessment is the list of cities in which the greatest number of new homes were purchased, which shows that the new housing market is currently moving between two poles. The first is discounted apartments in the Buyer Fixed Price Plan framework, and the second is new homes sold in the framework of Tama 38 and urban renewal projects. The top three cities on the list - Ramat Gan, Herzliya (1,394 homes), and Tel Aviv (1,323 homes) - feature urban renewal projects and new projects on the open market. The fourth city on the list, Jerusalem, features both poles: urban renewal projects, mainly in Kiryat HaYovel, and various Buyer Fixed Price Plan projects. Jerusalem is followed on the list by Beer Sheva, Harish, Yavne, Rosh HaAyin, Rishon Lezion, Tirat Hacarmel, Netivot, and Or Yehuda.

The biggest record set in December resulted from exceptional sales of homes in three districts: 1,171 homes were purchased in the Tel Aviv district, almost double the multi-year average in recent years, mostly due to Ramat Gan, Herzliya, and Tel Aviv; 322 homes were sold in the Jerusalem district in December, the most in the past three years, owing largely to large-scale sales in Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem; and 725 homes were sold in the southern district, also double the monthly average, largely as a result of sales in Netivot, Ashdod, Been Sheva, Kiryat Gat, and Ashkelon.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 13, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

New apartments under construction  / Photo: Shutterstock, Shutterstock.com
New apartments under construction / Photo: Shutterstock, Shutterstock.com
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