New IDF base being built in Negev.
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
The Israel Lands Council approved plans on Monday for building 60,000 apartment units in areas to be cleared by the IDF as it moves to the South.
The meeting at which the decision was taken, which was the last to be chaired by Construction Minister Uri Ariel, followed a month of negotiation between the Prime Minister’s Office, the Israel Lands Authority, the Finance Ministry and the Defense Ministry.
The 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of land are expected to fetch some NIS 30 billion, though moving the bases themselves will cost NIS 14b.
The breakdown of the units is as follows: 16,500 in Sde Dov; 12,000 in Kfar Syrkin; 1,200 at the Adjutant Corps HQ in Ramat Gan; 390 in Keren Hakirya; 10,100 in Tel Hashomer; 15,800 in Tzrifin and 3,600 in IDF base 148.
Ariel called the decision “one of the most significant that has been signed by the Israel Lands Authority. This agreement will increase housing supply in high-demand areas by 60,000 units.”
“There is no doubt that the agreement represents a basis for marketing tenders from the ILA and the Construction Ministry in the central region in the coming six years,” he added.
Though the central problem in Israel’s housing market has been a shortage of supply, it is unlikely that these units will see the light of day anytime soon.
In January, the government approved a plan to move the bases, which estimated that only a third of the units would be marketed by the end of the decade, half between 2020 and 2023, and the remaining units thereafter.
The Bank of Israel estimates that roughly 40,000 new units must come onto the market each year to start bringing down the cost of housing.
Even the government estimates may be unrealistic; a BoI study in 2012 found that from planning to completion, it takes an average of 13 years for new apartments to come onto the market.
That number has come down somewhat in the years since the study.