Housing Sales, Mortgages Fall in First Quarter

YERUSHALAYIM -
Construction work on new homes outside Afula. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

A total of 8,800 homes were sold in March 2017, 18 percent fewer than in the same month a year earlier. The Finance Ministry said that the figures are another sign that the housing market is slowing, after at least five solid years of significant price increases.

With that, sales in March were 8 percent higher than in February. The report by the Ministry does not specifically discuss prices, and according to data culled from market sources, prices did not change much from February to March. Part of the slowdown, the Ministry said, was due to a cooling of interest in the housing market by investors. As in previous reports, the new one showed that 80 percent of the homes on the market were sold by owners, while 20 percent consisted of new homes.

In a separate report, the Ministry said that fewer people were taking out mortgages. In another sign of the cooling market, the average mortgage taken out by Israelis has fallen significantly in recent months. In April, the average mortgage granted by a bank was NIS 629,000, compared to NIS 666,000 a year earlier. The highest monthly total in 2016 was NIS 718,000, the report said.