Gov't announces incentives to address housing shortage

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reached an agreement with the Finance and Construction and Housing Ministries on Monday on the first series of steps to be taken to alleviate the housing shortage in Israel and prevent the expansion of the real estate bubble that has sent prices for real estate soaring lately. Young couples and recently discharged soldiers looking to buy their first apartments will be the main beneficiaries of the proposed reforms.
According to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office, all Israeli land developers will receive a 15 percent discount on tenders made to acquire plots from the Israel Lands Administration land for residential building with the requirement that the contractors complete construction of at least 80% of their projects' planned apartments within 30 months of the building start date.The PMO also announced a sharp reduction in capital gains taxes on land originally acquired between 1961 and 2001.  Until now, For land acquired from 1961 to 2001 was taxed at a capital gains rate of 45%. In 2001, the capital gains tax for newly acquired lands was decreased to 20%, the rate that will also now apply to all land acquired before 2001 sold in 2011 for building projects, provided the project is completed with 30 months of its start.
Lastly, local authorities will now be empowered to collect directly land development fees from real estate developers to help pay for public institutions and common areas in under local jurisdiction. Local authorities inability to finance public improvements to new areas has been often cited as a significant cause of building project delays.
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