In a bid to reduce the price of housing, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announced Wednesday he would expand a popular low-cost housing scheme with 15,000 new apartments in cities across the country, many of them near the financial hub of Tel Aviv.
Speaking at a press conference, Kahlon emphasized that the new units are still in their planning stages, noting it will take time until all the permits and procedures are implemented.
The 15,000 new homes will significantly enlarge a scheme that seeks to address skyrocketing housing prices in Israel, offering homes at subsidized prices to qualified first-time buyers via a lottery system.
The Finance Ministry said a lottery would open Saturday night and end on July 9, and include apartments in 85 projects located in 24 different towns and cities.
Many of the units will be built in cities within commuting distance of Tel Aviv, considered the economic center of the country, including Yavneh, Rishon Lezion, Rosh Ha’ayin, Herzliya, Beit Shemesh and Ramle.
The scheme also includes projects in the north and south of the country, including in Haifa, Shlomi, Mitzpe Rimon and Harish.
According to Kahlon, some 10,000 housing units have already been sold in the low-cost housing program that he initiated after taking up office.
He emphasized that by the end of the year an additional 10,000 housing units are expected to be sold, in addition to the 15,000 units he announced today.
Housing Minister Yoav Galant, who was also present at the press conference, said his office has been working around the clock to ensure Kahlon’s plan is implemented.
Knesset Member Itzik Shmuli of the Zionist Union party criticized the implementation of the plan, saying it had actually led to an 8 percent increase in housing prices rather than bringing costs down, according to TheMarker financial daily.
Kahlon and his Kulanu party have sought to address housing prices in Israel, which have steadily risen over the past decade, making it difficult for young couples to purchase homes.