Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Yair Assaf-Shapira

At the end of 2016, some 2.5 million households lived in Israel. A household is defined as a group of people (or one person) who live in an apartment, and have a common expense budget for food. For example, a family can form a household, but flatmates who share the food budget will also be defined as such.

What is the number of persons in your household? The average HH size in Israel is 3.3 persons, but among the various population groups there is a difference in the sizes of HHs. For example, among the Jewish population, the average number of persons in a HH is 3.1, and among the Arab population it is 4.5. In Jerusalem, the average household size is 3.9, and among the Jewish population in the city it stands at 3.4.

The average, however, does not indicate the distribution. Households usually begin their lives small, as one or two people units, grow, and then split up and shrink, as a new cycle begins. A large part of a person’s life span is spent in a small household, and therefore a large proportion – almost half (43%) of the households are small, and include one or two people. Among the Jewish population in Israel, smaller households are more common (47%), and in Tel Aviv and Haifa they constitute the large majority (70% and 63% respectively) of the households. Among the Jewish population in Jerusalem, the share of small households is similar to that in Israel at 47%.

Among the Arab population in Israel, small households are much less common, and their share stands at 19%. In Jerusalem, the proportion of small households among the Arab population is only 15%.

Small HHs have different needs and consume different services, a notable example is apartment size. The share of small apartments (up to 3 rooms) in new construction in Israel is relatively small (9.5%), and according to the data, maybe it should be enlarged.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Business Arnona

Lior Regev

Arnona (municipal tax) is the main source of regular income for Israel’s local authorities, including the Jerusalem Municipality. Residential Arnona, however, does not typically cover the cost of the municipal services provided to residents. The rate for non-residential properties differs from the rate for residential homes. For this reason, local authorities compete for Arnona from businesses: businesses pay more and use relatively few municipal services.

Which part of the city generates the most Arnona for the Municipality of Jerusalem?

The amount generated depends on the types and sizes of properties in each part of the city. For example, places of religious worship pay the low rate of NIS 63 per square meter, while offices and commercial businesses larger than 150 square meters pay the high rate of NIS 334 per square meter. Because the amount due is determined by square meters, the larger the property, the higher the Arnona. In some cases, the rate is further affected by the size of the property: if it is beyond a certain threshold, the cost per meter rises. And in some cases, the location can also affect the rate.

By cross-referencing the number of properties and the Arnona revenues they generated in 2016, we can identify several phenomena. The revenues from the Mahane Yehuda market and Malha mall areas are comparable, at NIS 25 and 28 million, respectively, before discounts. Yet the number of non-residential properties in the Mahane Yehuda area stands at 1,600, compared with only 300 in the Malha mall area – a five-fold difference (!). The reason apparently lies in the large number of small businesses in the market area, in contrast to the mix of businesses in the mall, which has many regional or national commercial franchises.

Moreover, the rumors about the death of the City Center evidently overstated the situation. About 1,670 businesses operate in the triangle formed by the Ben-Yehuda Street, Jaffa Road, and King George Street, generating some NIS 44 million for the city, before discounts.

The largest Arnona-generating areas are the industrial and commercial zones of Talpiot and Giv’at Sha’ul. In recent years the mix of properties in both zones has been continuously diversifying. Today they house auto-repair shops, stores and places of commerce, business offices, some remaining traditional industries, and the beginnings of knowledge-intensive industries. Interestingly, the number of non-residential properties in Talpiot is larger than the number in Giv’at Sha’ul by nearly 1,000 (2,518 compared with 1,548), yet the difference in income generated amounts to only NIS 7 million (105 compared with 98 million, before discounts).

Translation: Merav Datan