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Israel Building Homes at Fastest Per Capita Rate

Israel has the world’s highest per capita rate of residential construction, a leader of the building industry said here last night. There are 16.9 home units started for every 1000 population, Elazar Nir told the Zionist Organization of America’s Institute for Israel Studies at ZOA House here.

He said that some 60,000 apartments will be started but only about 47,000 will be completed this year because of material shortages and lack of skilled labor. Nir was less than optimistic over the prospects of widespread rental housing in Israel to ease the housing shortage. It is a long way off despite its many social and economic advantages for both the settled populace and new immigrants, the housing expert said.

Nir said that private builders had suggested that the government provide concessions in land prices, lower duties on imported building materials and in expensive financing or subsidies of some rentals in order to relieve Israelis of the high purchase cost of flats. But, he said, recent meetings between builders and government representatives leave no cause for optimism that such measures will be enacted.

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