Anyone who has been away from Israel a few years and recently returned has seen and heard a visible trend in the housing market, remodeling. Dumpsters filled with rubble line neighborhood streets, the sounds of congos drilling at 7:30 a.m. and the abundance of new flooring and wall tile, kitchen and bathroom fixture stores has multiplied in industrial areas.
The law allows the homeowner to make any desired changes within his four walls, but many communities have eased restrictions in building improvements. In the past, nearly 100% signed approval was needed from residents for any external building changes. Now new laws allow the two top floor apartments to demand an elevator (albeit often at their own expense) and if agreement on one side of the building is arrived at, those 4 or five apartments in one line up can get permission to add the highly desired balcony.
Additionally, a top floor apartment with usable roof space was considered as legally usable only for storage. New laws are standing in place for permission for all the internal housing space of one’s unit to be considered legal use, including attic and storage spaces.
A recent survey of Israel homeowners/buyers refect a positive trend in remodeling 46% prefer to buy and upgrade a new apartment or to immediately renovate an older apartment they purchased, compared to 27% a decade ago. 36% will hire an archtect or designer compared to only 10% a decade ago.