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IMF: Great Recession “Short and Sweet” in Israel

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently met with the Bank of Israel and produced a report praising Israel.

It’s fascinating to read (if you like that kind of stuff), full of tables and diagrams. They showed concern that the housing prices had risen so much, but then tempered that concern by stating that there were valid reasons for the price increases.

Here are the key paragraphs related to the Israel housing market (free night in one of our zimmers in Yavne’el for the first person to be able to translate this into plain english!)

“House prices are up over 40% since the great recession began. The absence of a prior housing bubble, alongside long-standing supply constraints, restrictive planning regulations, global recession safe-haven inflows, low policy interest rates, and uninterrupted bank lending to households have conjoined to produce an uncomfortable echo of advanced countries in the early-to-mid 2000s. But, with the possible exception of the second quarter of 2010, private consumption behavior seems largely unaffected by the boom – perhaps as it offsets other losses in asset portfolios. Moreover, in contrast to recent experience elsewhere, there is no evidence that the boom is related to a weakening of credit standards: mortgages are “full recourse;” almost all stay on the original creditors’ books (with none packaged into structured products), and headline delinquency rates remain low and have declined over the past year. Additionally, loan to values remain low, although this may be a reflection of the increase in house prices.”


My Dramatic Video About IDF With Surprise Ending

Here’s an experimental  1 minute video I made about the IDF. Can you guess the surprise ending before the video ends?

I’m constantly trying to produce creative, entertaining and informative videos for you each week. There’s a mix of travel, real estate, personal events and just plane “life in Israel.”

Our goal is to keep you connected and create an emotional bond with Israel while you are not in the country.

My video guru (and son) Eli Veffer at tells me that the keys to good online videos are:

  • good editing
  • great sound
  • minimal but great effects

This video is an experiment to practice some new techniques and get really creative. Let me know what you think. (and let me know if you guessed the surprise).

If you like it, please go to our youtube channel and “like”, “rate” the video and “subscribe” to our channel.

Also, please “share” it on your facebook account if you have one.

Israel’s Economy is Booming – Housing market is only part of the story

People often ask me, “are the housing prices in Israel going to continue to climb?” One factor in the equation is the performance of the housing market compared to the general economic situation in the the country.

Here are some amazing facts and statistics about the economy I just received from my friend Yoram Ettinger.

Israel’s Economy 2010 Performance:

100,000 additional employees, compared with 8,000 in 2009.

4.5% GDP growth compared with 2.7% average by
other OECD members.

GDP per capita grew 2.7%, compared with a 1.1% decline
in 2009.

Unemployment declined to 6.7%, compared with OECD’s average of
8.3%, Canada’s 8.3%, USA’s 9.7% and Japan’s 5.1%.

Balance of payment surplus – $7BN. Budget deficit  will not exceed 4% of GDP.  An all time low,
less than 75% public debt to GDP ratio (Dec. 30, 2010).

According to the London Economist, Dec. 29, 2010: “Over the past two decades Israel
has been transformed from a semi-socialist backwater into a high-tech
superpower. Adjust for population and Israel leads the world in the number
of high-tech start-ups and the size of the venture-capital industry.

[Israel] was one of the last countries to enter recession and among the
earliest to exit… I
srael is also good at the sort of technological
mash-ups that produce exciting new industries… The country has long turned
adversity into a source of competitive advantage…”

Yoram is a political and business guru, popular lecturer and runs a facinating website. You can sign up for his reports at his website.

2010: Israel Properties increased by over 20% – Globes

The real estate prices in Israel continue to rise. The statistics for 2010 are now available and Globes newspaper reports the following:

The average price of a four-room apartment in 2010 showed double-digit growth in most of the country compared with 2009.

Beersheva had the sharpest increase, at 30% to NIS 652,000 in December 2010 (NIS 363,000 in 2006.) These prices explain investors’ rush to areas where homes can be bought with relatively little equity of their own.

The average price of a four-room apartment rose 28% in Tel Aviv to NIS 2.74 million.

The average price of a four-room apartment rose 29% in Haifa, 22% in Jerusalem, 25% in Holon and Bat Yam, 21% in Petah Tikva, 20% in Rishon LeZion.

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