Sitting comfortably in his office, Yaki Briga, head of the Briga Real Estate Company, reviews the year in real estate in 2021, expresses his hopes and wishes for the market in 2022, and discusses the ways in which the corona pandemic has affected the market.
“The pandemic didn’t harm the real estate market in 2021, and in some ways, it actually helped,” says Briga. “Most people preferred to invest in real estate and more concrete areas and relied less on banks and the stock market.” In terms of real estate working practices, Briga says that many meetings are now conducted remotely since the advent of Zoom-oriented conversations. “We have many more meetings, especially planning conferences, via Zoom these days.”
Yaki Briga is concerned about the lack of housing units, high prices of real estate, and the ability of builders to meet demand. He lists several reasons for these difficulties. “The government needs to shorten the time for granting building permits. Israel is ranked at or near the top in many areas such as technology and agriculture, but we are a bit behind the rest of the world in real estate. We take more time than any other country in granting building permits.”
“We have marketed 40,000 land areas for building residential development,” he says, but we need 70,000. The more that the government permits the marketing of land and residential units, the more we can lower the prices.” Briga also states that the government should agree to foster additional development outside Israel’s major cities. “People don’t have to live in the middle of Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Netanya, or Ramat HaSharon.” Unlike Europe and the United States, he points out, where people can choose to move from one end of a large expanse of territory to another, Israel is a very small, concentrated area. “The government must market land in the periphery and Negev.”
Additionally, he criticizes the manner in which land tenders are given. “Today, various financial bodies, instead of entrepreneurs and builders, bid at higher prices, buy the land, and sell it for a higher price, thus passing on the cost to the residents or the builders. In the United States and Europe, tenders are usually granted at close-to-average prices or at prices closer to the actual value of the land. In Israel, the price snowballs, which causes young couples to have to pay much more for their homes.”
Briga says that contrary to what some may think, builders are unhappy when prices rise. “When prices go up, it not good for us. It puts us at greater risk, and we have a smaller audience of buyers. We want to be able to build for everyone, but we can’t.” He does not foresee a decrease in real estate prices on the horizon for at least the next four or five years.
Briga is a premier, high-end company, and while he is delighted by the company’s success on that front, with projects such as Briga Towers in Netanya, he takes equal pride in Briga’s 300-unit project that it recently completed in Kfar Yona, intended for young couples. “I am happy that we were able to make a quality product at a reasonable price, between NIS 1.8 million and NIS 2.5 million,” he says. Briga is currently building a 400-unit project in north Netanya and is beginning a residential development in Raanana.
The fact that Briga is a one-stop-shop, with the entire team – architects, lawyers, builders, crane operators – working as employees of the company contributes to the company’s quality work, says Yaki. “This helps us to create a quality product, and to depend on ourselves, and less on others.”
Yaki Briga emphasizes that his family-led company, which has been in business for more than 40 years, is more than a building company. “We want a story behind each project. It’s not just bricks and mortar. We look for added value – whether spiritual or societal – in each of our projects.”
This article is taken from The Jerusalem Post Annual Executive Magazine 2021-2022. To read the entire magazine, click here.
This article was written in cooperation with Briga