Gov't passes measures to provide more affordable housing

The Cabinet approved additional steps on Sunday to help slow real estate prices and increase the supply of residential apartments. The plan included benefits for those seeking to buy an apartment in peripheral areas.
A press release said young couples who buy in Israel's periphery will be eligible to receive a NIS 100,000 benefit.
Other measures included exemptions on sales of apartments that served as offices and are converted to residences by the end of 2012 and exemptions from betterment tax on sales of apartments for investment beginning in 2013.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the goal of the steps is to spur the entry of residential apartments into the market. "These measures are not a substitute for, but are an addition to, the comprehensive reforms that the Government is leading, such as the reforms at the Israel Land Administration and the establishment of committees to shorten the bureaucracy."