Israeli PM pushes bill to counter housing shortage

09:05, June 20, 2011      

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on his cabinet to help promote a bill meant to ease a housing shortage in the country.

"Many young people are obliged to live with their parents ... young couples, discharged soldiers and students feel that their dream of purchasing an apartment is moving further away due to rising prices," Netanyahu said at the cabinet's weekly meeting, according to an official statement.

The Israeli government is currently advancing legislation as part of an overall reform meant to significantly shorten the bureaucratic haggling at local housing planning and construction committees.

The Housing Commissions bill, initiated by Netanyahu, calls for the establishment of planning commissions that would expedite the planning and construction procedures.

Such commissions will give preference to the government housing plans that call for the construction of some 113,000 residential apartments, pushing through the building of 50,000 units annually.

Israel lacks about 80,000 to 100,000 apartment units, according to the prime minister.

Netanyahu said solving the housing shortage will "not happen overnight," and lamented the country's real estate bubble, saying that housing prices are soaring due to the shortage.

"There is no supply of apartments because not enough are being planned and marketed," he said, "We are going to fill the shortfall with an emergency action."

A plan that calls to reform the Israel Land Administration, a government institution that manages more than 90 percent of the publicly-owned land, was approved in March.

Officials said the legislation to enact Netanyahu's bill is expected to take more than two years.

Source: Xinhua
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