Mortgage taking in Israel rose strongly in March
The volume of mortgages taken in Israel in March was the highest for the past 12 months. Figures published today by the Bank of Israel show that new mortgages taken in March totaled NIS 5.2 billion, 14% more than the monthly average over the past 12 months, Globes reports.
The increase is the result of more deals, not a rise in the size of the average mortgage. 7,802 mortgages were taken in March, compared with an average of 6,835 over the past 12 months.
Despite the increase, banking sources downplayed the figures, explaining that the rise was mainly a technical consequence of the Passover holiday in early April, because many buyers preferred to expedite the process in order to complete their deal before the holiday. The banks noted that stagnating demand for mortgages over the past year was continuing, with many home buyers currently sitting on the fence and waiting for clarifications about the state of the housing market.
The March figures show that the average interest rate on fixed-rate shekel-denominated mortgages remained virtually unchanged at 3.82%, while the average interest rate on fixed-rate index-linked mortgages declined from 3.35% in February to NIS 3.27% in March.