Do today's market conditions "justify" purchasing an
apartment or house? According to Bank Tefachot economists
(who tend to be optimistic about the future of real estate)
the answer is clear: mortgage banks in Israel are offering an
ideal opportunity for anyone considering purchasing property
for residential purposes based on the economic parameters
affecting the real estate market.
Yaakov Reuter, assistant manager of the retail department and
the bank official in charge of mortgage loans at Bank
Mizrachi Tefachot, told reporters that according to the three
most important parameters in real estate transactions —
real estate prices, the exchange rate for the dollar and the
interest rate — now is an optimal time to purchase an
apartment or house.
"Apartment prices in Israel are linked to the dollar and
because of the low value of the American currency against the
shekel a decrease in residential real estate prices has been
posted in many parts of the country. In other locations
prices are the same as in previous years and only in a few
areas that re in demand have prices gone up," says Reuter.
Decreasing credit rates has also improved the customer's
position, he says, since the interest rate on mortgage loans
is the lowest it has been in years. This situation allows
purchasers to make do with less self-capital and to receive a
mortgage loan from the bank at higher funding rates and lower
credit rates for periods of up to 30 years.
Reuter also says after several months of moderate activity in
2006 following the war in Lebanon, an impressive comeback was
posted for the last quarter of the year, and certain high-
demand areas even posted increased activity compared to the
figures prior to the war.
Reuter forecasts continued expansion of the activity in the
housing market in 2007. He says French Jews, who have been
very active in this area for over a year, are now being
joined by British Jews showing a growing interest in
purchasing homes in Israel.