Bank of Israel: Mortgages Down in First Nine Months of 2014

New home loans edge down just 0.7% despite central bank's efforts to curb lending.

Tomer Appelbaum

In spite of the Bank of Israel’s effort to restrain the growth of mortgage lending, the value of new home loans taken out in the first nine months of the year edged down just 0.7% from the same time in 2013, figures from the central bank released Sunday showed.

All told, Israelis took out 38.55 billion shekels ($10.3 billion) in mortgages in January-September.

Still, bankers said on Sunday they expected the pace of new borrowing to fall the rest of the year – not because of the host of restrictions imposed by the Bank of Israel, but because the number of home sales has been in decline as buyers await Knesset approval of a law exempting many home buyers from the value-added tax.

In September, Israelis took out 4.25 billion shekels in new mortgages, 7.7% less than the monthly average over the past year, but 11% higher than September a year ago.