Kahlon alleviated the housing crisis

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of housing starts in 2013 was 47,859.

Man builds his wife a surprise dream house. (Kitchen/Dining Room Pictured) (photo credit: AMRI EMANUEL)
Man builds his wife a surprise dream house. (Kitchen/Dining Room Pictured)
(photo credit: AMRI EMANUEL)
On October 14, The Jerusalem Post published an article Amit Dubkin titled “The day after – examining Israel’s real estate woes.” The writer provided an analysis of the housing market but he seems to be confused about what he wants, who he wants to help and how he thinks his objectives can be accomplished.
Dubkin laments the decline in home ownership among Israelis, and acknowledges that it is a major weakness of Israeli society, then lauds the exponential increase in housing prices that took place between 2005 and 2015 as “a decade of plenty.”
I must inform him that inflated housing prices are what cause decreased home ownership and prevent many Israelis from affording their own home. Dubkin supports overseas real estate investors and their interest in ever-increasing property values that allow them to profit, but he has to choose between wanting investors to have property values increase and wanting affordable prices for those who have not yet managed to purchase homes.
He rightly attributes the housing crisis to an insufficient rate of new construction but misses that increasing construction reduces prices; that reducing prices is the reason for increasing construction; and that prices are the measure by which to evaluate whether we are building enough.
To bridge the gap between supporting higher prices and increasing the rate of home ownership, he offers one sentence about lowering taxes and a sentence about increasing government spending on housing grants at the same time. However, he fails to explain how he would fund such a feat. His idea is that prices should rise and the government should offer grants to make up for that. This is a recipe for runaway inflation based on a fantasy of unlimited government spending.
Dubkin uses much of his article to spin against Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, but he misrepresents basic facts. According to Dubkin, “During the past four years, developers slowed their activities; consequently, housing starts fell from a projected annual 80,000 to less than 50,000. This was due to the uncertainties caused by the government’s housing policies and the rising levels of distrust among developers toward these policies.”
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of housing starts in 2013 was 47,859. In 2014 the number was 47,683, significantly less than the 53,676 in 2015, Kahlon’s first year in office. In 2016 the number rose to 55,982. In 2017 it was 52,971, and in 2018 there were 48,551 housing starts, still above pre-Kahlon levels. Prior to Kahlon, the number of housing starts had not passed 48,000 since 1997. For half of the last 18 years, the number of housing starts was below 35,000, and at times it was less than 31,000. The numbers show an increase in building during Kahlon’s tenure, far from what Dubkin calls a “virtual freeze.”
Dubkin acknowledges that since Kahlon entered office in 2015, what had been a market characterized by runaway prices has stabilized, but he thinks the inflated market was a good thing. If the objective is to increase the percentage of Israelis who own their own homes, one of the most important numbers to look at is the number of monthly paychecks it takes the average wage earner to buy the average apartment. These statistics reflect not just the prices but the balance between prices and salaries, and the real effort it takes to buy a home. If the rate of home ownership is to increase, the number of paychecks must decrease.
In 2016 it took the average Israeli 160 monthly paychecks to afford the average apartment. Current numbers have it at 150, more than the 103 in 2008, but a decline after continuous increases since 2006.
Kahlon is not a perfect person. I have my own disagreements with him. An honest observer should recognize though that for all of his human flaws, he, more than any other politician, has placed economics, housing and poverty at the forefront of Israel’s agenda. For that he deserves credit. 
When a person whose analysis of the market and prescriptions for improvement are self-contradictory criticizes misrepresentations of the finance minister, it means the analyst’s motivations are not about housing. Dubkin’s real motivations are his political leanings and his desire to defend his embattled overseas real estate investor friends.