1,959 new homes were sold in Israel in May, 19% more than in April, but 10% fewer than the 2,186 new homes sold in May 2017, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported today.
While the figures are still lower than last year, the new figures indicate recovery in new home sales following a downtrend that lasted for many months. It is premature to conclude on the basis of a single month that the trend itself has changed, even though the number of new homes sold was the highest since July 2017.
The figure published by the Central Bureau of Statistics also includes apartments sold under the Buyer Fixed Price plan, but only those for which a building permit has been received. According to a review by the Ministry of Finance for May, 660 apartments were sold in the framework of the plan in May, while the same report for April mentioned 500 Buyer Fixed Price apartments sold. This means that the number of new homes sold under the Buyer Fixed Price plan increased, but the number of homes sold at market prices also rose.
At the same time, the Ministry of Finance figures for the number of Buyer Fixed Price plan apartments sold are based on signing a contract for purchasing an apartment, not on the granting of a building permit, so the figures do not correspond exactly.
The Ministry of Finance survey also indicates an increase in sales of new homes, as well as a rise in total deals (new and secondhand housing units) in May.
The three-month calculation by the Central Bureau of Statistics shows that 5,120 new homes were sold in March-May 2018, almost the same number that were sold in December 2017-February 2018. The seasonally adjusted figures show an 11.3% increase over the earlier period.
An examination of the trend figures for recent months shows an average 1.6% monthly increase in February-May 2018 from 1,660 homes to 1,760 homes. This upward trend comes after a long period (July 2015-January 2018) in which the average monthly decrease in the number of new homes sold was 1.7%, from 2,800 to 1,650.
The Central Bureau of Statistics' figures also include the stock of unsold housing units in the hands of contractors in May 2018, which was 24,000, down slightly from the 24,500 in the preceding month. At the same time, a review of the figures in recent months shows a 5% drop in the stock of unsold housing from 25,400 in January. It should be kept in mind, however, that these figures are partial and refer only to private construction; they are therefore too low.
According to geographic segmenting of sales of new homes, sales were up in all districts except for Tel Aviv, where they were unchanged. In comparison with the corresponding month last year, the trend is mixed. In the Jerusalem, northern, and Tel Aviv districts, sales of new homes rose, while in the Haifa, central, and southern districts sales were down.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 12, 2018
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