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Was Netanyahu’s down-to-the-wire election scare because of Israel’s housing crisis?

Housing policy can be a sticky wicket in politics

Slate – along with a lot of the mainstream media – blew its call on whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his conservative Likud party would win a majority in the parliamentary elections.

But before the final votes were counted, Slate raised an interesting point – did Netanyahu’s election almost turn on housing?

Is this why the Obama Administration and Congressional Republicans keep kicking the can down the road?

Also, there is an Israeli housing crisis, where it can take 13 years from start to finish to complete a property.

Here’s the run down from Slate:

Israel, it seems, has been suffering from a housing crisis, with real-estate prices skyrocketing well past affordability for most families…From their nadir in 2007 through July 2013, the cost of a home jumped 83 percent, according to the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel.

In Israel, the situation is different. Thanks to tight lending standards, it's exceedingly difficult for young couples to make a down payment. Meanwhile, due to an ungodly amount of government red tape, the Taub Center says it takes 13 years on average for developers to complete a building project. This has led to a housing shortage that, while putting home ownership out of reach for families, also drove up rents 30 percent in five years while incomes stayed basically flat. If that weren't bad enough, a recent report by the State Comptroller's Office suggested that, while Israeli officials understood there were problems in the housing market, they dragged their feet on addressing them.

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