The Construction and Housing Ministry wants 2,500 new apartments to be built in Jerusalem to make staying in the city more affordable for young couples. "The economic crisis must not put the construction sector into a state of stagnation," Construction and Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim said Thursday. "More than ever we need to encourage constructors to continue building. The economic crisis is an opportunity to stem the negative migration from Jerusalem. Aggressive marketing of new and affordable apartments will strengthen the standing of Jerusalem." New construction would hopefully bring down apartment prices, encourage construction in Jerusalem and turn it into a more attractive place to live, he said. Over recent months, many construction projects have been put on hold as a result of growing economic uncertainty, which in turn is expected to lead to a contraction in available housing. The most recent figures published by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed a 14 percent drop in new construction starts in Jerusalem and a 29% fall in Tel Aviv from January to September, compared with the same period last year. Last month, the Israel Association of Contractors and Builders warned that a severe shortage was developing. It said prices would soar because demand will outstrip supply, as the inventory of new apartments for sale has dropped steadily over recent years. Boim this week directed the Israel Lands Administration to start marketing the construction of more than 2,500 apartment units in Jerusalem to provide housing for 10,000 people. The project will commence with the marketing of 380 housing units in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood, on Rehov Costa Rica, in the form of a tender. Contractors offering the lowest price per built apartment will win the tender. The ministry expects the new apartments to be offered at a discount of between 20% to 30% from the market price, representing an attractive option for young couples. Purchasing rights for the new apartments will be by lottery. Camp Schneller, currently a military base in the city's Geula neighborhood, is to become a haredi residential complex with 633 apartments. Apartments are to be built in the Moradot section of Kiryat Yovel, where 290 units will be marketed; Talbieh, where 42 units will be marketed; Ramot, where 745 units will be marketed; and Ramat Rachel, where 412 units will be marketed.