During a session of the Knesset Finance Committee attended by Housing Minister Yoav Gallant, the matter of the national housing shortage was discussed. Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafne explained that he lived in Ofakim for many years and he learned that subsidies on the apartments has a positive effect on the housing market towards increasing availability by lowering housing prices.
Gallant told the committee session that based on the current growth rate, an additional million apartments will be required in the next twenty years including 200,000 for the chareidi sector, over 200,000 for the Arab sector, and 600,000 for the remaining population. He added that today, 50% of the general population lives between Hadera and Ashdod and over 60% of the Jewish population. Gallant explained these figures pose formidable challenges for Israel’s economy and housing market.
Gallant addressed the slow pace of construction, stating there must be change for it is unacceptable when it takes 15 years for the first residents to enter a new neighborhood. The minister explained that 30,000-40,000 apartments were constructed annually during the past eight years instead of 50,000, and the nation is rapidly approaching a shortage of 100,000 apartments.
Gallant explains his office is working to improve the situation. He explains that today, the authority has been shifted to the Finance Minister and this cuts down on the red tape. In addition, the government has lowered the price of land for developers, which should result in lower apartment prices. The ministry he explains is aggressively marketing apartments to first-time homeowners. The ministry plans to begin an additional 50,000-60,000 apartments this year.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)