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New homes sales in Israel down 4.4% in Q1 2018

New homes sales in Israel down 4.4% in Q1 2018
12:45 18-05-2018 | icon 11

The new of new homes sold in Israel fell slightly in March 2018. According to figures for demand for new homes in Israel published today by the Central Bureau of Statistics, 1,500 new housing units were sold in March, Globes reports.

The number sold is slightly less than in the preceding month, when 1,601 new housing units were sold. The fall is a steeper 24% in comparison with the corresponding month in 2017, when 2,037 new homes were sold. The number of new homes sold in March 2018 is the fewest since December 2017.

4,803 new homes were sold in the first quarter of 2018, 4.4% fewer than in the preceding quarter. The Central Bureau of Statistics nevertheless notes that when seasonal factors are eliminated, the decline in the quarter was a more modest 1.7%. The decrease in comparison with the first quarter of 2017, when 6,579 housing units were sold, was 27%.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, new home sales in April 2017-March 2018 were down 20.2% in comparison with the preceding 12 months.

The steepest fall in new home sales was in Jerusalem. Only 121 new homes were sold in Jerusalem in March 2018, a decrease of over 50% in comparison with 246 in February. At the same time, the pace of new home sales in Jerusalem in February was fairly high, compared with the pace of sales in recent years, so the fall in sales might be an isolated one.

The trend in other districts was mixed. In the northern, Haifa, and Tel Aviv districts, the number of new homes sold rose, while in the central, southern, and Judea and Samaria districts the number sold dropped. The largest increase in sales of new homes was in the Tel Aviv district, where 437 were sold in March, compared with 384 in February. The number of new homes sold in the Tel Aviv district was the highest since January 2017.

The number of housing units remaining to be sold, which the Central Bureau of Statistics is again reporting after a one-year halt, was 23,193 at the end of March, down slightly, compared with the preceding month. At the same time, a review of the figures for unsold housing units previously reported by the Central Bureau of Statistics, which were subsequently upwardly revised, shows that the real number for March could be higher. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported a stock of 22,855 unsold new homes at the end of February 2018 but has now revised this figure to 23,193. The reporting of this figure is still inadequate, because it includes only privately initiated construction, not publicly initiated construction. The number of new homes remaining for sale by contractors is probably higher also for this reason.

The Central Bureau of Statistics report also refers to buyers' groups, indicating that the downward trend in this category is continuing. Construction began on 2,590 homes by buyers' groups began in April 2017-March 2018, compared with 4,810 in the preceding year.

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