Illustration: Mortgage bankers at work.
Illustration: Mortgage bankers at work. Photo by Ofer Vaknin
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Israelis are buying new homes even as housing prices rise, despite all the promises and proposals from politicians in recent years.

Israeli households have taken out NIS 10.5 billion in mortgages this year through August, a 4.5% increase over the same period last year, the Bank of Israel said Monday.

Of the NIS 378 billion in household debt, NIS 269 billion is for mortgages. New mortgages totaled NIS 5.9 billion in August, up from NIS 4.9 billion in July.

One possible explanation for the big jump in August is the 1% rise in VAT in September. Buyers may have wanted to make payments before the tax hike raised prices even further.