By SHARON WROBEL
Sales of new apartments fell in October for a fourth consecutive month as the supply shortage deepened and demand continued to weaken, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday.
According to preliminary figures, 1,350 new apartments were sold in October, out of which 960 were sold by private contractors and 390 by public contractors, compared with 1,290 in September and 2,050 in June.
The number of apartment purchases fell 6.8 percent during October compared with September, while housing prices remained steady, the Finance Ministry reported this week. The Treasury said the purchase of apartments for investment had fallen 10%, led by a drop in the Beersheba area.
"The demand for new apartments in October was 2,490, dropping 14% from the level in September, while rising 19% compared with the same month last year," the statistics bureau said. "October last year... was a month of particularly low activity in the real-estate sector. From January to October, the demand for new apartments was up 9% compared with the same period last year, although declines have been reported in recent months. Demand rose across all areas of the country except for Tel Aviv and Judea and Samaria, where demand was down."
The number of new apartments for sale in private construction has been falling since October 2008, after a short period of growth in the May-October period last year, the statistics bureau said.
At the end of this October, the total number of new apartments for sale was 7,850, down 27% compared with the same month last year. In 2005, the number of new apartments for sale in private construction was 13,155.
Out of the 7,850 new apartments for sale this October, 7,380 were in active construction and 470 had passed the building stage in the past 15 months; 35% were located in the center of the country, 33% in Tel Aviv and 12% in the Jerusalem area.
The number of new apartments for sale in October fell in all regions, led by the South and the Haifa area, which were down 44% and 43% respectively year-on-year. They were followed by Judea and Samaria, down 35%; the center of the country, down 28%; Jerusalem, down 28%; and the Tel Aviv area, down 16%.
"Broken down by areas, the supply of new apartments is set to last 15 months in Jerusalem, about 12 months in the North, eight months in the South, Tel Aviv and Haifa, and seven months in the center," the bureau reported.
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