State Gives Buyers of Discount Homes More Leeway to Sell

New rules give purchasers in Mechir Lemishtaken more flexibility

Mechir Lemishtaken lottery in Afula, March 31, 2016.
Emil Salman

The Israel Lands Authority Council on Monday approved a package of changes in the Mechir Lemishtaken (Buyers Price) program, the government’s main tool for bringing down housing costs.

The most important change lets people buying homes in the program sell the properties seven years after they have won rights to a home via a government lottery.

Until now, the rule had been that buyers were barred from selling their homes for five years after they received an occupancy permit. But in many cases, projects being developed through the program have not even received building permits, which means they may not receive an occupancy permit for another four or five years and therefore most hold onto the property for a full 10 years.

Other changes approved on Monday would allow the Israel Lands Council’s planning and development committee to allocate up to 5% of all Mechir Lemishtaken projects for public housing. If a project is included, the price for the land sold to the contractor will be reduced.

A third reform will let contractors sell homes that were not bought by lottery winners in the open market at the same low price as stipulated in their agreement with the government.