The average price of owner-occupied dwellings in the country rose by 7.42% to ILS1,244,800 (US$355,522) during the year to Q3 2013, after annual increases of 7.58% in Q2 2013, 9.77% in Q1 2013, 5.82% in Q4 2012 and 4.99% in Q3 2012, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). When adjusted for inflation, house prices rose by 5.62% y-o-y to Q3 2013. Israeli house prices increased 2.39% (1.34% inflation-adjusted) during the latest quarter.
Haifa†saw the highest house price increase during the year to Q3 2013, with prices surging by 25.2%. It was followed by the†Gush Dan (15.2%), Tel Aviv†(12.7%), Qrayot Haifa (10.9%), the Southern district (10.7%), and the Northern district (8.4%).
The Center and Jerusalem Periphery Towns and Sharon also saw moderate year-on-year house price increases of 4.8% and 4.4%, respectively.
In contrast, Jerusalem saw an annual house price fall of 3.9% during the year to Q3 2013.
Tel Aviv†has the countryís most expensive housing, with an average price of owner-occupied dwellings of ILS2,250,900 (US$642,870) in Q3 2013. It was followed by†Sharon†at ILS1,535,900 (US$438,662) and Jerusalem†at ILS1,497,200 (US$427,609).
Israel experienced dramatic house prices rises in 2009 and 2010, despite domestic political uncertainty, security threats, and the global financial meltdown. The housing market returned to robust growth in 2012.
- The average price of owner-occupied dwellings rose modestly by 4.1% (-0.49% inflation-adjusted) in 2008
- Property prices rose by 22.35% (18.15% inflation-adjusted) in 2009
- Property prices rose by 17.04% (14.22% inflation-adjusted) in 2010
- Property prices rose by just 0.04% (-2.39% inflation-adjusted) in 2011
- The average price of owner-occupied dwellings rose by 5.82% (4.12% inflation-adjusted) in 2012
Demand continues to rise. In October 2013, the total number of dwellings sold rose by 1.73% year-on-year to 1,819 units. In 2012, the total number of new dwellings sold reached 22,313 units, up by 13.2% from a year earlier. Likewise, the total quantity demanded for new dwellings in Israel also increased by 5.8% y-o-y to 42,257 units in 2012.
However, the national figures conceal local property demand variations. From January to October 2013, the Judea and Samaria Area recorded the highest increase in the total quantity of dwellings demanded, rising by almost 50% from the same period last year. It was followed by Haifa (24.8%) and Jerusalem (12.2%). On the other hand, demand fell in Tel-Aviv (-9.3%), Southern region (-7.9%), Northern region (-5.5%) and in the Central (-0.2%) over the same period.
The construction sector is also picking up. In Q3 2013, the total number of dwellings started surged by 17.11% year-on-year to 10,176 units, based on figures released by the CBS. Likewise, the number of dwellings completed also rose by 11.88% to 9,925 units over the same period. In October 2013, the number of dwellings for sale in the country also increased by 1.98% from the same period last year, 21,838 units.
In October 2013, there were about 21,838 new dwellings for sale in the country, up by 2% from the same period last year, according to the CBS.
Israelís economic growth is expected at 3.8% in 2013, after registering real GDP growth rates of 3.4% in 2012, 4.6% in 2011, and 5.7% in 2010, according to the IMF. In September 2013, the Bank of Israel, the countryís central bank, cut the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1%, its ninth rate cut in two years, in an effort to buoy the economy.
Analysis of Israel Residential Property Market »
These are the sort of prices that can be seen in Swiss cities of Geneva and Zurich, or in Canadaís Toronto and Vancouver.
The Bank of Israel issued a directive in October 2012 putting a ceiling on how much a home buyer can borrow against the price of house he is buying. Yet it denies that there is a housing bubble in Israel.
In Herzliyah Pituach, a 120 sq. m. apartment now costs on average, US$ 12,800 per sq. m.
Renting an apartment in Tel Aviv would cost you anywhere from US$ 19 per sq. m. per month to around US$ 26 per sq. m. per month, which means that you can rent a 60 sq. m. apartment for about US$ 1,500 per month, and a 120 sq. m. apartment for around US$ 2,300 per month. (We donít have rental figures for apartments in Herzliyah Pituach as it is an exclusive enclave whose rents are highly seasonal.)
Gross rental yields for apartments in Tel Aviv, i.e., the gross return on investment in an apartment if fully rented out, are under 3%, which is very poor. This tends to support the popular view that property is somewhat overpriced.
Capital Gains: Most properties sold in Israel are exempt from capital gains tax. If the gains are taxable, the net gain is taxed at the standard income tax rates.
Inheritance: Israel has no inheritance tax.
Residents: Resident individuals are taxed on their worldwide income and capital gains at progressive rates, from 10% to 48% in 2012.
In May 2010, Israel became a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the exclusive rich-manís club.
In the third quarter of 2013, the countryís annualized real GDP growth rate stood at 2.2%, from 4.6% in Q2 2013 and 2.6% in Q1 2013, according to the CBS. The total exports rose by an annualized 2.7% in the third quarter of 2013, following a drop of 9.8% in the previous quarter. Over the same period, imports also rose by 4.5%.
Israelís economic growth is expected at 3.8% in 2013, after registering real GDP growth rates of 3.4% in 2012, 4.6% in 2011, and 5.7% in 2010, according to the IMF.
In October 2013, the countryís unemployment rate dropped to 5.9% from 6% in September 2013 and 6.1% in August 2013, according to the CBS. There were about 218,000 unemployed in Israel in October 2013. Of the 3,704,000 employed Israelis aged 15 and over, 1,861,000 were men while 1,625,000 were women.
In September 2013, the countryís annual inflation rate remained steady at 1.3% from the previous month, according to the CBS. The central bankís target rate of inflation ranges from 1% to 3%.
The Bank of Israel cut the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1% in September 2013, its ninth rate cut in two years, in an effort to buoy the economy. Moreover, the central bank has also been buying dollars to cool the shekel and spur the export-driven economy. The central bank is expected to buy at least US$5.6 billion in 2013-14 and was ready to purchase more if needed.
Over the past 12 months, the countryís deficit was equivalent to about 3.3% of GDP, well under the deficit target of 4.65% set in the 2013 spending plan. In the first 10 months of 2013, the deficit stood at ILS18.6 billion (US$5.3 billion), down from the deficit of ILS23.2 billion (US$6.63 billion) seen during the same period last year.
In November 2013, Fitch Ratings upgraded the credit outlook for Israel to positive, mainly due to the countryís lower-than-expected annual deficit.