Figures published today by the Ministry of Finance chief economist show that 9,100 residential real estate deals were transacted in March in Israel, including 8,200 deals at market prices (not in the buyer fixed price plan framework), an increase of 14% in comparison with February 2018. In comparison with March 2017, however, the number of deals was down 6%.
In his survey, the chief economist attributed the increase in the number of deals in comparison with the preceding month to the extremely small number of deals in February and the larger number of housing units sold by investors in March in comparison with preceding months. In comparison with February, the number of deals involving both new homes sold by contractors and secondhand deals rose in March.
The increase in the number of deals at market prices does not mean that housing prices also rose. It cannot be ruled out that while the number of sales rose, the prices for those sales were lower, whether because of a different mix of sales or because the sellers were willing to compromise on lower prices.
2,800 new housing units were sold in March, of which 900 were discounted housing units in the buyer fixed price plan framework, while 1,800 new homes were sold at market prices in February, meaning that the increase in deals for new homes at market prices was a small one, while in comparison with March 2017, market price deals for new homes fell 6%. The Ministry of Finance notes that this decrease was smaller than the decreases of over 10% in previous months.
At the same time, the Ministry of Finance also said that in the Rehovot and central regions, the number of deals also rose among the largest companies in the sector. "Particularly prominent is the fact that in contrast to last year, when the decrease in sales of new homes was greater among the large companies than the other companies, probably because these companies were less inclined to lower their prices after the boom years, during which they accumulate large profits, it appears that the sales by some of these companies recovered in March, with an indication of lower prices. In the Rehovot district, for example, one of the large companies had a substantial increase in sales, following a bargain campaign for Rehovot residents eligible for the buyer fixed price program. This bargain was not part of the buyer fixed price plan; it was a private initiative by the company."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 13, 2018
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