New home sales fall

New apartments

The Central Bureau of Statistics reported that 2,144 new homes were sold in September.

2,144 new homes were sold by contractors in Israel in September, 10% more than the 1,916 new homes sold in August, but 2.8% fewer than the 2,175 homes sold in September 2016, according to figures published today in the monthly report on demand for new homes by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The Central Bureau of Statistics explained that both quarterly and yearly figures show a continuation of the downtrend in the real estate sector. 6.1% fewer new homes were sold in July-September 2017 than in the three preceding months. Excluding seasonal factors, on the other hand, the number of new homes sold was up 1.7%.

26,014 new homes were sold in October 2016-September 2017, almost 16% fewer than the 30,919 new homes sold in October 2015-September 2016.

Like the figures published by the Ministry of Finance chief economist, the Central Bureau of Statistics show a downtrend in the sector and in sales of new homes. The number of new homes sold in September, however, was higher than the number sold in August. It is too early to determine whether the rise is an anomaly, or whether it signals a recovery. Furthermore, both the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bureau of Statistics figures are likely to be revised later.

For this reason, the long-term (annual) comparison is a better indication of what is happening in the sector. Housing sale figures include both homes sold under the buyer fixed price plan and homes sold by contractors on the open market, without distinguishing between the two, and this also needs to be taken into account.

The Central Bureau of Statistics figures show that 1,280 new homes were sold in Tel Aviv, over the past year, compared with 1,605 in the preceding year, a 20% drop. The decline in Jerusalem was steeper, with 1,240 homes being sold, compared with 1652 in the preceding year, a 25% decrease.

In Kiryat Motzkin, on the other hand, the number of new homes sold rose appreciably from 432 in the preceding year to 1,176 in most recent period. It is important to note that a considerable proportion of the increase resulted from buyer fixed price plan homes sold over the past year.

The Central Bureau of Statistics also mentioned homes not for sale, with a focus on buyers' groups. According to the figures, construction began on 4,580 homes by buyers' groups, compared with 3,340 homes by buyers' groups in the preceding 12 months. Buyers' groups began construction on 1,960 such homes in the central district and 1,190 in the Tel Aviv district during this period.

The Central Bureau of Statistics has not yet resumed publishing a figure that is an integral part of demand for new homes and sales of new homes by contractors - the stock of new homes not for sale at the end of the period being reviewed. The Central Bureau of Statistics stopped publishing this figure several months ago, claiming that a problem with the figures had been discovered, among other things due to failure to receive up-to-date data from the Ministry of Construction and Housing.

The current report also addresses this matter, saying, "Publication of the figures in this announcement includes figures for demand for new homes, but does not include figures for the number of homes still for sale at the end of the period. The Central Bureau of Statistics will resume publishing these figures if and when it receives up-to-date data." In a press briefing by the Central Bureau of Statistics last month, senior figures commented on these figures, saying that as of now, there was no expectation that the figures would be published.

Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on November 13, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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