Global construction industry firms are responding to Israel’s outreach for assistance in helping the nation resolve its housing crisis.
Israel’s Housing Ministry said that 50 companies have submitted bids to work on large residential projects in the country.They include companies from China, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Portugal and Vietnam.
The ministry said that it has set up a committee to examine the proposals and plans to select six.
In March the Israeli government approved the plan to bring in foreign companies in an effort to deal with the country’s housing shortage that has pushed prices up by 8% in the past year and 2.5% in the second quarter of 2016.
The six foreign companies selected will be allowed to bring in up to 1,000 workers to build housing projects of at least 1,000 units, and will be permitted to team up with an Israeli company or work independently, with a five-year license to remain in country.
The government lowered the firms' required annual revenue level from $500 million to $300 million. The companies must show that they’ve built at least one 25-story or two 15-story towers outside their own home country, but they also may allowed to bid on office construction as well as residential.
Israel’s Finance and Housing ministries expect the involvement of foreign companies will help meet the target of building 60,000 to 70,000 apartments a year, or a 50% increase over current levels, by reducing the time it takes to build an apartment.
Bu Israeli contractors have expressed strong opposition to the government move. “The decision is outrageous and will lead to the collapse of the local construction sector,” said Roni Brik, head of the Israel Builders Association construction and infrastructure division. Brik said that the association would fight the government move.