Research: 20m. Israelis in 2065 face gloomy housing crisis
With new statistics forecasting a huge boom in Israel's population, which is expected to reach 10 million by 2024, real estate experts warn that the country is heading for a severe housing crisis; 'Stories of high-rise towers must go from 20 to 40.'
The new research by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), entitled “Israel’s Population Forecasts until 2065,” concludes that by that 2065, the number of Israelis will stand in excess of 20 million.
But with forecasts of an increasing population combined with a shortage of housing, experts are thinking up news ways for governments to fill the gap to meet the growing demands.
City planner Professor Rachel Alterman, for example, highlights that the current rate of building is on the decline and that the number of high-rise towers is not on the on the up.
“The towers are not the correct answer for Israeli citizens,” Alterman argued in an interview with Ynet. “There are better solutions to take advantage of the land. For example, building smaller buildings next to one another will allow for an even smarter exploitation of the land. In addition to construction we need to remember that there is also a need to dedicate resources to other uses—commerce, education and recreational activities.”
While conversations with other officials in the in the field reveal disagreements in the correct approach, they also paint a clear picture. In order to meet the demands to supply roofs over people’s heads, a significant change is required in the character of buildings and the way we are used to.
“The numbers that are presented by the CBS create the necessity for construction of at least 500,000 apartments in the next seven years and 1.5 million apartments within the next 20 years,” says Chaim Feiglin, the CEO of a real estate company dealing with construction and development of residential, commercial, industrial, office and hi-tech projects.
“We are talking about unrealistic numbers if you work according to the existing time schedule.” Feiglin added that the government needed to immediately establish three metropolitan cities containing high-rise buildings that would satisfactorily cater for the demand for residential, commercial areas, public housing and “the high quality of life required today and for the foreseeable future.”
“In practice, it is possible to build three cities on just one percent of the open space in Israel. Unless this is immediately implemented the housing crisis will only get worse,” he warned. “The building of new metropolitan cities...will contribute about a third of the demand for housing in the future.”
But unlike Professor Alterman, architect Guy Miloslevski posits that the first step to making the change is putting a complete stop to the construction of detached housing. “You have to stop or at least significantly limit the building of detached houses, including in the periphery. There we are facing a phenomenon of the disappearance of open space,” Miloslevski said. “In addition, high-rise construction needs to go to the next level.”
Miloslevski emphasized that high-rise construction is necessary mainly due to the shortage of land in large cities and predicted that it will reach its peak over the next decades, both in the scope of construction of the towers and in the height of the towers themselves.
“There is no need to rule out building high-rises in the periphery—also buildings that are 10-15 stories high will increase building density. It has to be remembered that the costs of development in the periphery are high and the building and high-rise construction reduces the total cost of the project,” he said.
The main change that many expert officials agree needs to take place is increasing the number of stories in a high-rise from 20 to 40.
Last December Israel's parliament gave final approval to the 2017-2018 state budget that the Finance Ministry says will reduce the cost of living, tackle a housing crisis, and boost economic growth and productivity.