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Data shows bounce-back in housing market over summer, improving on 2019

Housing Ministry figures show dire sales figures during March-May were followed by an increase in purchases in June-August

Illustrative: A construction site of new residential buildings in a new neighborhood in Beer Yaakov, central Israel, on March 26,2020 (Flash90)
Illustrative: A construction site of new residential buildings in a new neighborhood in Beer Yaakov, central Israel, on March 26,2020 (Flash90)

Finance Ministry figures released this week showed the housing market plummeted to historic lows during the year’s second quarter amid the coronavirus pandemic. But more recent data from the Housing Ministry indicates the market rebounded during the summer to actually improve on 2019’s figures.

The Finance Ministry report released Sunday showed 16,800 apartments were bought during the second quarter of the year (April-June), a drop of 27 percent compared to the same quarter in 2019.

The Housing Ministry looked only at new home purchases, but agreed with the Finance Ministry that March-April-May were dire months — with drops of 43%, 81% and 31% respectively in sales compared to 2019.

However, Housing Ministry data showed that June actually saw a bounce-back effect, with a 31% increase in the purchase of new apartments over the same month in 2019 (4,200 compared to 3,200). July saw a 9% increase while August saw a 25% increase.

In total, 23,370 new homes were purchased through to the end of August 2020, the report said, compared to 25,600 in 2019 — a 9% drop.

New apartment buildings in the Ir Ganim neighborhood of Jerusalem, February 27, 2017. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

Finance Ministry data on third-quarter home sales will be available only later in the year. It is still not clear how September-October’s national lockdown will affect home sales.

The Finance Ministry’s second-quarter data indicated sales were at their lowest since 2003, when violence from the Palestinian Second Intifada decimated the economy.

The downturn was most keenly felt in the center of the country, with Tel Aviv seeing a 33.6% drop in the volume of purchases and reaching its lowest level since tracking began in the early 2000s.

High-end locations suffered worse than outlying areas, figures showed, and the southern city of Beersheba even saw a slight rise in purchases of 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year.

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