Monday, July 25, 2011

A Private House With a Red Roof

Yair Assaf-Shapira

One might have assumed that smaller, one or two-story buildings would characterize rural localities. Low-density housing is less suited to urban localities, particularly in light of the depletion of land available for development and the National Master Plan no. 35 for land development which specifies minimal housing density standards.

The hard data, however, clearly indicates that Israeli cities and local authorities have seen low-rise housing construction on a large scale. During 2009 and 2010, 88% of buildings completed in urban localities (compared with 80% in cities) had one to two stories (The data pertains to new buildings and does not include new units added to standing buildings). The picture is even starker when examining the data for all new construction completed during those two years, including rural areas: 93% of all new buildings which accounted for 48% of all new residential units were one- to two-story buildings.

This is not a new trend. The numbers for the past decade demonstrate that a similar percentage of new construction in urban localities (87%) as well as throughout the country (91%) was of one- to two-story buildings.
A possible explanation for this reality may be the efforts of localities to attract wealthier families who generally seek single-home residences. Yet this trend contradicts the declared national planning policy which seeks to increase housing density.

Jerusalem, and its neighboring localities to an even greater degree, have an unusually large number of high-rises. Of all the cities in Israel which saw the completion of more than 20 new buildings between 2009 and 2010, most localities in the Jerusalem region had the lowest percentages of low-rise construction.

Localities in which low-rise buildings accounted for less than 50% of new construction include Maale Adumim (9%), Givat Zeev (34%), Modiin-Maccabim-Reut (38%), Beit Shemesh (41%), Beitar Illit (42%) and Jerusalem (49%). The only other cities where low-rise buildings accounted for less than 50% of new construction were Elad, Eilat and Givatayim.

By way of comparison, low-risers accounted for 61% of new construction in Haifa, 63% in Tel Aviv and 92% in Rishon LeZion and the overall average for all Israel urban localities was 88%.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Changing Consumption Habits

Michal Korach

Newly released CBS data on household expenditures in Israel reveals that, in 2009, the average monthly household expenditure for Jerusalem was 11,900 NIS, compared with a national average of 13,000 NIS and 14,400 NIS in Tel Aviv.  Given the differences in household size, the (standard) average per capita monthly expenditure in Jerusalem was actually 4,000 NIS, far below the national average (4,700 NIS) and the average in Tel Aviv (6,900 NIS). 

The primary household expenditure categories in Jerusalem were: housing (26%), transportation and communications (17%), food (17%), education, culture and entertainment (13%).  Percentagewise, the distribution of household expenditures in Jerusalem was similar to the figures for Israel and Tel Aviv. 

Monetarily, the household expenditure on food in Jerusalem, Israel and Tel Aviv was similar, around 2,100 NIS.  But as we know, ‘different strokes for different folks’.  In Jerusalem, the primary food expenditure categories were fresh produce (410 NIS), meat and poultry (340 NIS), bread, grains and other dough products (330 NIS), milk products and eggs (300 NIS) and dining out (240 NIS). 

Interestingly enough, whereas in Jerusalem and throughout Israel the two leading categories in household expenditure on food were fresh produce and meat and poultry, in Tel Aviv, dining out topped the list followed by fresh produce.  In fact, on average, Tel Avivians spend around 31% of their monthly food bill on eating out, compared to an average of 12% for Jerusalemites and 14% for all Israeli households.