Every winter Globes, Israel’s daily business newspaper, organizes a major conference on Israeli real estate. I attend every year and I estimate that an average of several thousand people attend as well. Anyone who is anyone and anyone who would like to be anyone in Israeli real estate attends. The conference starts at 9am and is a good place to network and get to know other real estate professionals from all over the country. It is also a good place to learn about new government policies which can affect the market and new trends in the country’s real estate.
This year the Globes Real Estate Conference took place on March 12 at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. As usual there was a very large turnout. The hot topic of the conference was the changes in the zoning laws which will speed up the process of getting building permits for new projects.
It was generally agreed that the supply of apartments needs to grow in order to bring down real estate prices. However, the zoning process for changing the use of land, for example from agricultural land to residential, would take many years because the power to do this was left with the central government instead of the local municipalities. This is going to change under the new law. An additional problem that would slow down the zoning process was the fact that the Government owns most of the land in the country. We were told by a representative of the Israel Land Authority that measures would be taken to speed up this process as well.
This was all very nice to hear. I hope that the new law and the promises of the Israel Land Authority are implemented and that they bring the desired results. High prices have caused many Israelis to look abroad for their real estate investments. This was evident in the lack of vendors who took up booths at the conference that were actually trying to market Israeli real estate. Many of the vendors were pushing real estate projects abroad and not in Israel.