The settlement freeze in the administered territories appears to be taking on proportions much greater than those dictated by government policy.
The sale of new homes in the territories has virtually ground to a halt, and thousands of apartments now under construction have failed to find buyers, the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot reported Wednesday.
The newspaper cited unnamed Housing Ministry officials as predicting a rash of “ghost villages” in the territories once current construction is completed.
Contracts signed during the term of the previous Likud administration guarantee builders the government will purchase the houses if private buyers do not take them.
Building work is therefore proceeding on schedule on the estimated 11,000 apartments not “frozen” by the government.
Yediot quoted ministry officials as saying that only two apartments were sold in the territories during the past months.
The slowdown is attributed to the new government’s tighter mortgage policies in the territories, the impact of the partial housing freeze put in place and speculation about eventual territorial concessions in the peace process.