Catching up to Hong Kong: Since 2007 the price of flats in Tel Aviv has risen 76.4 percent .
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)
“We shall not cease from exploration,” wrote Anglo-American poet T.S. Eliot, “and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”After a trip to mainland China and Hong Kong, I returned to Israel to see with fresh eyes the soaring cost of housing and Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s plan to deal with it by exempting flats from the 18 percent Value Added Tax (VAT). Under the plan, first-time home buyers who have served in the IDF will be exempt from VAT charged on new flats priced at 1.6 million shekels ($460,000) or less.