Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s “Price Resident” program that provides discount prices for young couples on new apartments is set to get a major boost. On Motzoei Shabbos, Kahlon announced at a press conference Wednesday, 15,000 new apartments will be offered to applicants to the Price Resident program, with the large majority located in “in-demand areas,” Kahlon said.
Those areas include Rishon LeTzion, Rosh Ha’ayin, Herzliya, Beit Shemesh, and many more in central and northern Israel, as well as in Be’er Sheva and Ofakim in southern Israel. Most of the apartments are still in the planning stage, but Kahlon said that all permits and procedures “will be implemented. It will take time, but they will come.” Providing assurance that that would be the case was Housing Minister Yoav Gallant, who said at the press conference that his office was up to “the challenge the Finance Minister has presented us. We have worked day and night to bring this about.”
To buy an apartment, applicants need to be chosen in the lottery that will be held Motzoei Shabbos. The odds of an applicant being chosen for the right to purchase one of the apartments are not bad; there are 45,000 outstanding applications for Price Resident lottery participants, and Kahlon said that all 15,000 homes would be awarded Motzoei Shabbos. So far, according to Housing Ministry statistics, 87,000 couples have applied to the program which was started about two years ago, and 40,000 apartments have been awarded.
However, many of those are still in the planning stage, say critics. Reacting to Kahlon’s announcement, MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Camp) told Globes that Kahlon was way behind on fulfilling his promises. “He promised there would be 70,000 apartments in the program by the end of 2016, but so far only 3,500 have received building permits. Young people need homes, not lotteries to buy homes,” he said, adding that government-subsidized housing was a much better solution to Israel’s housing crisis.
Under the Price Resident program, builders are given precedence on allocation of lots for construction if they promise to provide a percentage of homes in a project that will be affordable and set aside for qualified families who do not own homes. The rest of the homes in a project can be sold at market rates, essentially creating a two-tier market – one for the general public, and one for qualifying families, such as young couples, who can buy the lower-priced homes.