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Housing Sends Costs Through Roof

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Escalating housing costs sent Israel’s cost-of-living index spiraling upward by 1.8 percent in April, according to figures released last Friday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The increase was higher than expected and at least half of it was due to the rising price of housing, economists said. But many housing units are unoccupied, possibly because they are too expensive or in areas were jobs are in short supply.

The future inflation outlook was gloomy following a public sector wage pact reached Friday between Histadrut and the Finance Ministry.

It calls for a 4 percent pay increment over nine months for more than a half million state employees.

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