Residential real estate transactions dropped a sharp 18 percent in the third
quarter, the steepest quarterly decline since the last quarter of 2008,
according to Finance Ministry data released Monday.
The slide was clear
in all regions of the country except Jerusalem and Haifa, where transactions
dipped more moderately. In Jerusalem, the moderation was due to an 11% increase
in young couples buying homes, while in Haifa it was due largely to
Tel Aviv, on the other hand, led the trend
with a 26% decrease in transactions.
Tellingly, the average household
wage of the Tel Aviv transactors was NIS 57,000, 2.2 times higher than in the
past quarter, indicating that the less well-off largely pulled out of the market
in the third quarter.
The sharp drop, however, may have as much to do
with unusual circumstances in the second quarter, which saw record levels of
real estate transactions.
In Jerusalem, for example, a Jerusalem- area
incentives program for firsttime buyers spurned a 40% increase in young couples
purchasing apartments in that period. At the same time, levels of investors and
previous homeowner purchases in Jerusalem.
In Rehovot, in particular, a
trend of young couples putting off home purchases was apparent, with a drop of
42%. The decrease was linked to more stringent mortgage rules published by the
Bank of Israel in the last quarter of 2012.
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