The Israel Lands Authority has announced a project to build 60 private homes ("villas") in the Shachmon neighborhood of Eilat, but local real estate agents say the prices are too high and are questioning whether building contractors will be found, reports www.mynet.co.il. The blocks of land are being sold for NIS 350,000 to NIS 400,000 each, on top of which development costs of NIS 200,000 to NIS 300,000 are being charged, even before building work commences. According to the report, the lots are being offered by public tender in the 800-dunam sixth quarter of the Shachmon neighborhood, bordered by the area's central park on the west and by natural areas and the sea to the east. The plans call for the building of 60 detached homes, with six of them designated for disabled residents of the city. Contractors will be required to present their plans within nine months, begin work within 18 months, and complete it within 36 months. But local real estate agents say the prices of the lots and the initial development costs are too high, forcing buyers to pay out sums ranging from NIS 550,000 to NIS 700,000 even before work begins. The report said that not long ago, high-priced blocks of land in the area were being snapped up by contractors, but recently even much cheaper blocks were failing to sell, with the ILA trying four times and failing to sell a tender for apartment construction in the Shachmon area for just NIS 265,000. A veteran local contractor explained that contractors who had bought expensive blocks in the past had found themselves stuck with them and had been unable to sell the apartments they built at prices that would cover their costs.