A Holon apartment building.
A Holon apartment building. Photo by Ofer Vaknin
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While the government is pushing for the construction of inexpensive three-room apartments, and contractors are complying, buyers are continuing the long-standing trend of seeking more spacious homes.

The proportion of one-to-three room apartments being built throughout the country is on the rise. In 2009-2010, apartments of up to three rooms constituted 6-7% of all apartments built; by last year 9% of new builds were that size.

This trend is concordant with government policy aimed at lowering housing prices, by expanding the construction of cheaper housing in Israel. The government has taken several measures to encourage the building of smaller apartments, and contractors are hoping to lure buyers who cannot afford larger ones.

The only problem is that most buyers are not interested.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the ratio of apartments between one and three rooms that have been purchased from the pool of new apartments has remained stable since 2008, even dropping slightly from 11% to 10%. That's despite the availability of these apartments, due to the increased construction.

The market shows an entrenched trend for purchasing larger apartments. Whereas 50 years ago 90% of all apartments had one, two or three rooms, less than 10% of homes are that size today.

Since 2000, even four-room apartments are deemed too small by many, with the percentage of five-room apartments constructed jumping from 39% to 54% over the past 12 years. The percentage of 4-room apartments constructed currently stands at 37%.

According to Gadi Kochavi, the owner of a real estate company, "many young couples today only want larger apartments. The properties that are snapped up in our new projects are the larger four-room ones, as well as the five-room apartments. They do not want to return to the smaller 'boxes' their parents lived in".