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Private sector housing sales in the third quarter were down 6 percent on the previous quarter, according to figures released yesterday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The pace of sales of new homes also dropped: Half of the new homes sold in the third quarter were sold within 11.3 months of building starts, while in the second quarter half of the sales were registered within 8.9 months. The average time to sell a new home in the third quarter was 13.4 months.

The central district registered the most new housing sales, with 35 percent of overall sales. Sales of new homes in the northern, southern and Jerusalem districts were up on the previous quarter, while in all the other districts (central, Haifa, the territories) sales fell.

In areas where buyers received extra government subsidies and grants according to a decision approved by the social-economic cabinet in July, average monthly sales jumped in the period from July to November by 58 percent compared to average monthly sales in the first six months of the year. Buyers of public sector housing receive a subsidized loan and a NIS 25,000 grant.