Living out of boxes – what Sukkot can teach us about Israel’s housing market



Photo credit: RonAlmog via VisualHunt /  CC BY


The holiday of Sukkot reminds us what it is like to live in a temporary home – to live out of (or quite literally, in) boxes.

Unfortunately this is the reality for many young couples in Israel year-round. Since long-term rental is not an available alternative in Israel, couples tend to want to own homes, even at a high cost. Yet housing prices have more than doubled in Israel in the past decade (according to CBS data).

Not surprisingly, a very large percentage of Israelis over the age of 45 live in apartments they own, and this percentage has not changed considerably as a result of increasing housing prices. This is due to the fact that these apartments were mostly purchased before housing prices surged in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Younger Israelis, however, have been affected by the price increase. For 35-44-year-olds the percentage that does not live in apartments they own increased to almost 36% between 2003 and 2014, and for 25-34-year-olds this has gone up over 10 percentage points to over 60%. This leaves many young couples in temporary rentals, having to pack up and move relatively often.

Infographic - living out of boxes

For many young Israelis, the answer to the high price of housing and high cost of living is to live with their parents. These economic forces – alongside social norms of a delay in starting higher education and entering the labor market – have brought about a rise in the share of young adults choosing this option over renting or buying. As of 2015, 57% of unmarried young adults in Israel ages 22-28 still lived with their parents. Some of this rise may be due to Israelis getting married later.

Living with parents can help ease the financial burden on young Israelis, though it may not be the parents’ or the child’s ideal solution. But hey – it’s temporary, right?

share of young adults living with parents

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