6,500 subsidized homes on offer in latest Israeli housing lottery

As prices reach new heights, newest government raffle opens door for thousands of discounted apartments in 13 locations including Jerusalem, Ashdod, Sderot and Nahariya

A view of a construction crane in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, on June 21, 2022. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
A view of a construction crane in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, on June 21, 2022. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The fourth round of the government’s housing lottery program for first-time buyers known as “Target Price” (Mehir Matara) kicked off on Wednesday, offering entrants a chance to purchase one of 6,500 housing units at a 20 percent discounted rate on the market value.

This is the Construction and Housing Ministry’s last housing lottery for 2022, over the course of which it sought to raffle off about 30,000 discounted dwellings in dozens of locations around the country.

Soaring housing costs, up over 20% from last year, have driven fierce competition for the heavily oversubscribed lotteries, with more than 100,000 participants for each of the previous rounds in March, July and October.

This latest stage, however, shows that the numbers of subsidized homes made available this year through the plan will fall short of the target — potentially by as many as 5,000 housing units.

In this fourth round, homes are on offer in 13 locations: Jerusalem, Ashdod, Haifa, Yehud-Monson, Ramle, Kadima, Ofakim, Sderot, Nahariya, Nof HaGalil, and the West Bank settlements of Elkana, Karnei Shomron, and Emanuel.

Potential buyers require an eligibility certificate from the Construction and Housing Ministry, which they can purchase for a one-time cost of NIS 240 ($75). Households then register for the chance to “win” the opportunity to buy a discounted apartment.

Once issued, a certificate is valid for multiple lotteries over the course of a year, and it is possible each time to register for three separate areas, and for all available projects in each of those locations.

The ministry had hoped to include a further 1,000 apartments in this latest lottery round, but a number of planned project tenders have been postponed, delaying start dates and reflecting the range of pressures on the construction sector at the moment.

In announcing the opening of this fourth phase, Director-General of the Construction and Housing Ministry Aviad Friedman, said there was still “plenty of work to do, but the steps taken recently will bear fruit in the near future.”

“We will continue to act as we have done consistently over the past two years to accelerate… the supply of residential land and to find discounted and diverse solutions to benefit families and young people who do not yet own a residential apartment,” said Yaakov Quint, director-general of the Israel Land Authority.

Registration to participate in the fourth lottery runs from December 28 through to January 8, and the list of properties available as part of the program may be updated within that time.

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