Real estate developers Eliezer Fishman and Chaim Katzman, who both have investments around the world, in virtually every sector, were the first guests in "Globes" real estate forum. Eliezer Fishman is the controlling shareholder in “Globes”.
Is it not worthwhile investing at home now that the entire world is so stormy?
Fishman: There aren't any opportunities here. In the last recession in Israel (2001-2003) I had 400,000 square meters empty. In this recession I don't have 100,000 square meters empty.
Katzman: We don't sees any changes and if anything there is a strengthening. We are now seeing the shopping mall in Kfar Saba being occupied very successfully.
Fishman: The price of apartments in Israel is about to rise by 10%.. Nobody will build for a 4% margin. So either construction will stop altogether or the price will rise 14%. An apartment that you find today for NIS 1 million will be worth NIS 100,000 more, not in two years time, but in another five months, because nobody is starting to build. It's been a while since offices were being built. There was a small contraction of the market because of high-tech but that will bounce back. In Israel there are no surpluses. At the moment there is a balance and when the economy gets back to normal there will be dearth in the market."
Katzman: Despite everything you are hearing the situation in the Israeli market is much better than people think. I think that stems from a number of reasons. The first reason is that in Israel prices have not changes. If you're sleeping on the floor you can't fall out of bed. In my opinion Israel will benefit from the Obama administration. I don't know about the political side but on the business side I think all the research development of stem cells and innovation on energy topics and so on will trickle through to Israel through budgets and so forth. The engine of the Israeli economy is high-tech and its spin-offs and I think that Israel the forecast on the economic level is very positive. So I believe."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 14, 2009
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