Ministry List Points Out Cheap Homes

Housing Ministry publicizes list of affordable real-estate options. House prices have dropped in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv this year.

You can still find a four-room apartment for less than 1 million shekels in Israel, and the Housing and Construction Ministry wants to help you do so.

The ministry published on Sunday a list of communities where you can buy a new four-room apartment for less than 1 million shekels, including Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva, Betar Ilit, Dimona, Harish, Migdal Ha’emek, Afula, Kiryat Ata, Kiryat Gat and Sderot. In Harish and Afula, you can even find new five-room apartments for under 1 million shekels.

The ministry also published a list of cities where you can buy a second-hand four-room apartment for an average of less than 850,000 shekels. This list includes Ofakim, Or Akiva, Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva, Dimona, Tiberias, Tirat Hacarmel, Carmiel, Lod, Migdal Ha’emek, Upper Nazareth, Netivot, Acre, Afula, Arad, Safed, Kiryat Ata, Kiryat Bialik, Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Yam, Kiryat Malakhi, Kiryat Shmona and Sderot.

These figures come following publication of the ministry’s third-quarter summary last week.

Rising home prices have been a hot issue in Israel over the past several years, with large swaths of the public complaining that owning their own home is increasingly out of reach. This was one of the factors in the social justice protests that broke out in the summer of 2011.

According to the ministry, the average price of new homes purchased in Jerusalem was down 9% in the third quarter compared to the second quarter. However, the average price was still 2% higher than it was in the third quarter last year.

Second-hand homes sold in Jerusalem last quarter sold for an average of 13% less than they did in the second quarter of 2013, and 10% less than they did in the parallel quarter of 2012. The average apartment sold in Jerusalem last quarter − new and second-hand − cost 1.56 million shekels.

In Tel Aviv, the average apartment sold for 2.3 million shekels last quarter. Third-quarter prices for new and second-hand apartments were lower than they were in the parallel quarter of 2012.

The ministry reported that the price of new homes sold in Haifa dropped compared to the previous quarter as well as the parallel quarter of 2012, while the price of second-hand homes rose compared to both parameters. Last quarter, the average apartment in Haifa sold for 1.02 million shekels. In Petah Tikva, the average home sold for 1.36 million shekels.

The ministry reported last week that home prices increased by 2.2% in the first nine months of the year, after adjusting for inflation. Prices rose by a similar proportion during the first nine months of 2012.

The median price of a new home sold in the third quarter was 1.41 million shekels, which is 1.7% more than in the third quarter of 2012 and 6.5% more than in the second quarter this year.

It cost home-buyers the equivalent of 136 average monthly salaries to buy a home last quarter, an increase of four monthly salaries from the figure from 2012. The figure increased by seven monthly salaries between 2010 and 2013, compared to 26 monthly salaries between 2008 and 2010.

Dan Keinan