Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz's announced his intention to curb the rise in home prices by ending the temporary exemption on betterment taxes in December 2012, in order to prod real estate investors to sell second and subsequent apartments before 2013. The current exemption applies only in 2011-12.
The second measure aimed to convert apartments used for businesses back to residential use. "Currently, 50,000 apartments or more, mostly in central Israel, are used for businesses by dentists, lawyers, and so on. We want to provide strong incentives to sell these properties by 2013 by giving a full exemption on the betterment tax," said Steinitz.
At the press conference, Steinitz said, "For months, I have been considering additional major measures to halt and change the dynamic of housing prices in Israel. Housing construction has been reduced for almost a decade, and we estimate that a shortfall of 50,000 apartments is the result. In the past three years, this shortfall combined with the low interest rate, has resulted in a sharp rise in prices, which have reached a level that seriously harms society."