Israelis Not Making Ends Meet, Housing Crunch Blamed

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -
Construction of new apartment buildings in the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa in eastern Yerushalayim. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Construction of new apartment buildings in the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa in eastern Yerushalayim. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A report issued on Wednesday by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies identifies the high cost of housing as a main source of much of the average Israeli’s financial hardship.

Disproportionate expenditures on housing drive many households into financial trouble, as the average family spends hundreds of shekels more than its monthly income, the report said.

“The average Israeli family cannot make ends meet; across all population groups in Israel, expenditures exceed income,” the Taub Center said. “High housing prices are the primary reason for this phenomenon, and for [non-chareidim], the purchase of an apartment is the factor that shifts them from a positive to a negative monthly balance.”

“The average household cannot purchase an apartment without assistance, which usually comes from their parents’ gradually decreasing savings,” it added.

Among all populations, except for the chareidim and Arabs, the average household spends NIS 864 ($220) more than its monthly income. Among Arab households, the gap stands at NIS 1,919 ($488), and the chareidim exceed their income by NIS 3,209 ($817).

The housing shortage has also made Israel a more crowded place to live.

“Israel has very high residential density… even relative to countries with higher population densities,” the report said. “Out of 36 countries examined, only five countries have a lower average number of rooms per person than does Israel.”

The report pointed to the glacial pace of bureaucracy, which contributes to the lack of available housing. In terms of residential construction, it was a 13-year process “of which only two years are for construction while the remaining 11 years are devoted to bureaucratic processes – assuming the construction plans are ultimately approved.

“By comparison, in most European Union countries, the maximum amount of time needed to obtain a building permit is 8-12 weeks,” it said.