According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Tel Aviv surpassed Paris, Singapore, and New York, jumping into first place as the number one most expensive city in the world. Supported by the strength of the New Israeli Shekel and the rising transport and grocery prices, the white city has reached a new economic peak, and not for the better.
According to an OECD economic report, housing prices have increased by over 78% since 2010, with no regulation in sight. While there might be distortions on how the numbers are represented internationally and locally, the same thread remains: the cost of living in Tel Aviv is exploding.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai explained how the real estate bubble stays stuck in its place thanks to the government’s lack of capacity to make decisions. “Before they’ve finally defined the criteria, reached agreements, and gotten court orders, the politicians intervene and say ‘We’ll handle it, we’ll do it, we’ll push this forward.’ And then a few powerful activists in the Likud Central Committee hold a meeting and block the eviction. The lack of decision-making is constant throughout the system. There is no long-term planning for anything.”
He goes on to question what many others, who can no longer afford to live in Israel’s central city, wonder too: “My problem with the government and its worldview is that they convene a press conference to ostensibly deal with the housing crisis and they speak about Airbnb apartments and the conversion of office space into apartments – and they don’t deal with the root problems. Why are they always constantly engaged in foolishness?”