Statistics Bureau Finds Its Figures on Home Sales Were Off

Figures from 2016 had indicated a several-year high in unsold apartments. Apparently that figure may not be accurate.

A new building in Sderot.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Central Bureau of Statistics is reviewing all its published figures on new home sales for last year after finding serious data errors.

All new publications, including figures for all of 2016, are being delayed indefinitely.

Sources told TheMarker that errors were found in the number of new homes sold each month and the number that remained on the market.

Figures from 2016 had indicated a several-year high in unsold apartments. Apparently that figure may not be accurate.

In fact, more new homes were sold than official figures indicated, while fewer homes that had been put on the market went unsold. But the CBS does not yet know the degree of the inaccuracies.

George Kun, head of the bureau’s housing division, revealed the findings yesterday during a meeting of the bureau’s advisory committee. Kun stated that the problem stemmed from figures that came from the Housing Ministry regarding home sales, and said the ministry was trying to address the problem.

In the meanwhile, there is no way to publish accurate data regarding the number of new homes sold in Israel, said Kun.

Housing Ministry sources said they have been aware of the problem for four months. The problem apparently stems from low-level employees entering sales data improperly into the ministry’s computer system, but it could also be a computer issue, said the sources.