Numbers Show Housing Costs Still Soaring, Despite Gov’t Programs

Construction of new buildings in the ultra orthodox Jewish town of Telz-Stone, outside of Jerusalem on March 21, 2016. Photo by Nati Shohat/FLASH90 *** Local Caption *** èìæ ñèåï ÷øééú éòøéí áðééä áðéä
Construction of new buildings in Telshe-Stone. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Home prices rose 7.8 percent between June 2015 and June 2016, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday, putting to rest rumors of a slowdown in housing prices. The increase was comparable to the rate of housing price appreciation in recent years, and was actually higher than in some recent years.

The official statistics come after several reports by government agencies and ministries indicating that housing prices were on the way down. Several weeks ago, for example, the Finance Ministry said home sales had fallen 18 percent in April and May as compared to March, indicating a softening of demand and subsequently prices. Later revisions reduced that reduction to just 6.2 percent.

The increase, it should be noted, occurred during the Pesach period, traditionally a softer period for home sales. The 6.2 percent falloff was about right for a period in which banks and mortgage institutions were operating only partially, if at all, during the period.

The price rises also came despite the claims by Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon that he had succeeded in suppressing prices with programs like Price Resident, in which contractors are rewarded for building low cost housing.