Hottest housing market: Israel

Amidst housing troubles in many developed nations, an unlikely hot housing market has emerged in Israel:

Israel, despite perennial fears of war, has emerged as one of the hottest – and least likely – property markets in the world: Since real estate collapsed around the globe in 2008, at least one industry watchdog lists it as the fastest-rising property market on earth…

According to Global Property Guide, a trade magazine that monitors the housing market, Israeli housing prices in the second quarter of 2010 rose sixth-fastest in a ranking of 36 countries. Four of the top five, including Singapore and Latvia, were rebounding from sharp price drops. So looking at the past two years ended in June – the last period for which there is data – Israeli real estate clocks in at No. 1.

For Israel, where high-tech and science are booming businesses, the property price spike is the latest claim to fame. But it’s one officials aren’t boasting about, given ample evidence of how an imploding bubble can shatter decades of economic growth.

What is interesting to note is that Israeli officials are working to cool down the housing bubble so that their country doesn’t join other nations in experiencing a burst housing bubble. If their actions are any indication, might most developed countries now pursue policies that try to even out the housing market over time to avoid any possible issues with booms or busts? And if so, how effective can central governments be in attempting to control the housing market?

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