YNET NEWS - Ynet.co.il – 12 November 2023

12 November, 2023


In light of the increasing global anti-Semitism and targeted violence against Jews following the “Iron Swords” war, officials in the housing industry are already preparing for the possibility that hundreds of thousands of Jews may choose to immigrate to Israel, thereby increasing the demand for apartments. According to a report published by the government in collaboration with the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency, there has been a 1,180% surge in anti-Semitic incidents worldwide since the war began.
The crisis in the construction industry has led to an agreement for the entry of 20,000 foreign workers in private settings. The pressure has yielded results, as the construction industry will be included in the compensation plan for businesses, albeit with reduced benefits. The real estate market has transitioned from a sales stagnation at the onset of the war to a certain recovery.

Residential real estate companies are reporting that they are already receiving inquiries from Jews around the world regarding the purchase of new apartments, primarily utilizing MMD (likely a marketing approach). Mark Zavi, the CEO and owner of the digital marketing company Bmby, recognized the potential in the purchase of apartments in Israel by foreign residents at the beginning of the war. In a conversation with “Mammon” and Ynet, he explained, “I see a combination of several trends that will likely boost the demand for apartment purchases by foreign residents in Israel in the near future.”
He continued, “Jewish communities abroad and supporters of Israel want to assist the country during this period. Supporting and promoting the Israeli construction industry, recognized as the engine of the economy, is the right way to do this. With every apartment purchase, the buyer provides a livelihood for approximately 1,000 families in Israel involved in the construction industry and related sectors.”
“Another significant trend is the rise in global anti-Semitism, which is expected to further increase the demand for apartments in Israel. This demand can come from buyers intending to immigrate or those wishing to have a shelter apartment in Israel,” Zaevi added. He initiated a virtual apartment fair set to open next week, where people can view 3D representations of apartments through the company’s platform called DREAMS.

Nori Katz, an Israeli businessman residing in the Caribbean, mentioned, “Just this week, we signed a deal to purchase two apartments in a project by the Aura company under construction on Pilot Road in southeast Tel Aviv. I hadn’t seen the place, but I bought the apartments from afar after viewing them in 3D on Dreams. We invest heavily in Israel out of love for the land and belief in the country. We think now is the time to invest, not only in real estate but also in technology.”

However, a foreign resident who decides to immigrate after purchasing a residential apartment will be entitled to a special reduction in the purchase tax. The tax rate is 0.5% for the first approximately two million shekels and 5% for the remaining amount. This reduction is granted under the condition that the residential apartment was purchased within a year before the date of immigration to Israel and up to seven years after it. The residential apartment should also be used for residence after immigration to Israel.
Additionally, a new immigrant or a resident of Israel who has stayed outside of Israel for at least 10 years will be entitled to reduced purchase tax rates for a single apartment if they decide to immigrate or return to Israel within two years from the date of purchasing the apartment in Israel. This applies even if they own additional residential apartments outside of Israel. It’s worth noting that, in some cases, mainly involving inexpensive apartments, the purchase tax rates for an Israeli resident without additional property are lower than those for a new immigrant.

“Past experience shows that a situation of rising anti-Semitism around the world leads to the immigration of many Jews to Israel,” says Alex Mariash, CEO of the Urban Renewal settlement. According to him, “It is already clear now that the immigration of thousands of Jews will be a driving force for the industry and the country in the postwar period. Israel must begin at this stage to prepare for the day after because the arrival of hundreds of thousands of new immigrants will lead to increased demand for apartments on top of those already on the market. We must be prepared to absorb them and meet the increased demand. This war also emphasizes the importance of urban renewal and the need to construct secure, durable buildings in every apartment, not only for defense against security incidents but also against earthquakes.”
Mariash also highlights the growing interest of Israeli families who left the country and are considering future housing for their family members as part of the possibility of returning to Israel, as well as inquiries from Jews living overseas. He says, “Such decisions are unlikely to be made during times of war, but today’s consultations will be implemented the day after. Therefore, it’s important for the country to prepare itself by swiftly approving plans and permits and reducing bureaucratic barriers that hinder the possibility of rapidly advancing significant housing projects, unlocking thousands of housing units.”
“Since the outbreak of the war, we have seen a growing interest from Jews and Israelis who left the country in purchasing real estate in Israel,” reinforces Yohoram Bar Shai, CEO of Mashgav Residential Complex Marketing. Bar Shai also points to several main reasons for this, with the primary one being the rising anti-Semitism worldwide. According to him, “It makes the Jews understand that, despite the missiles and the surrounding area’s turmoil, Israel is a safe haven for Jews. Another reason is a trend that started even before October 7th and intensified in the last month – the strengthening of the dollar and the euro, leading to an increase of up to 20% in the purchasing power of non-residents. Add to this the drop in apartment prices since January and the industry’s slowdown, which prompted entrepreneurs to offer financing conditions and various benefits to buyers.”

Bar Shay adds, “There is another equally important reason for the increased interest, and that is the desire to express solidarity with Israel. Buying an apartment or land in Israel has been considered a Zionist act since time immemorial, and this sentiment has grown stronger following the war. Jewish and former Israeli residents realize that a window of opportunity has opened for them to purchase real estate at pre-Corona epidemic prices. Rising anti-Semitism is undoubtedly an incentive to turn thoughts into action. Unlike in the past, we see more interest in residential purchases by families of Jews seriously considering aliyah and by Israelis who want to return to Israel, not just for investments.”

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