Property sales jump 16% in Nov.

Property sales jump 16%

Property sales rose in November after falling the previous two months, while the average price of new apartments dropped 6.1 percent, the Finance Ministry reported Tuesday in its monthly economic survey. "In November, the number of house purchases increased after falling at an accumulative rate of 30% in the previous two months," the report said. "Apartments bought as investments out of the total amount purchased continued to drop, while home sales by investors was up. At the same time, the supply of rental apartments continued to grow." The ministry's data showed an increase of 16% in home purchases in November, after a 30% drop in the September-October period. The average price of new apartments dropped 6.1% in November compared with October. In its previous economic survey, the Treasury reported that the number of apartment purchases fell 6.8% in October compared with September, while housing prices remained steady. Most economic indicators for November pointed to a continued recovery in the economy as tax revenues rose and the public's mood was more optimistic. Economic activity in November improved. Revenues grew 0.9% in the commerce and services sectors and were up 2.2% in retail-chain sales. Tax revenues rose 2.5% in direct taxes and 20.6% in indirect taxes. Exports of goods fell 6.2% in dollar terms, led by a decline in the hi-tech sector, after growing at a rate of 6.9% in October, breaking the positive trend since May, the report said. Imports of goods rose 11.4%, led by raw materials and energy, following months of a downturn. "Local demand is expected to be the main growth engine of the economy over the course of the coming year, while exports will recover slowly," Bank Leumi chief economist Gil Bufman said in a report Tuesday. "As a result, we expect the economy to grow at a rate of 2.7% next year." The Consumer Confidence Index rose 0.3% in November, after falling 0.5% in October, and newly registered unemployment claims dropped 3.2%, following an increase of 1.3%. The Finance Ministry's survey was based on an index introduced four months ago. The survey, dubbed "Red Lights," combines a series of indicators to identify changes in economic trends.