Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced on Tuesday his decision to reduce the excise tax on fuel in a way that would eliminate the increase in fuel prices generated by the rise in world markets’ prices. The order will take effect within about 48 hours from the time of the announcement, immediately reducing gas prices at the pump to their level after Smotrich’s previous reduction a month ago.
But wait, there’s more: at the conference of the Association of Mortgage Advisors in Eilat, Smotrich announced that, with God’s help, very soon, apartment prices in Israel will start to fall and more Israelis will be able to buy an apartment.
Minister Smotrich noted the challenges he is facing in the area of housing as Finance Minister: “Our challenge in the coming years is to maintain the pace of construction starts despite the drop in prices, the rise in interest rates, and the drop in demand.”
“To do this we’ll have to address the credit difficulties for entrepreneurs and contractors, by simplifying and shortening the planning and licensing procedures, and maintaining economic viability in the peripheral areas,” Smotrich explained, promising: “You will already see these steps in the Arrangements Law and the upcoming budget.”
Exactly one month ago, on December 31, 2022, after real estate prices had soared by an inconceivable rate of 20% under the Lapid government, the chief economists of Israel’s three major banks said they were optimistic about the future of the housing market. According to the forecast of Hapoalim, Leumi, and Discount banks, the rate of increase would be moderate in 2023, housing prices may even go down. With the Israel Land Authority’s increased land sales, the new apartments prices could be lower.