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Israeli mortgage rates on the rise

Mortgage interest rates in Israel shot up in February. The average rate on index-linked mortgages rose to 2.85%, which compares with 2.66% in January and 2.58% in December, according to Bank of Israel figures. Since June 2015, when the rate was 2%, there has been an almost constant rise. The rise in mortgage rates is across all loan periods. On 10-15 year loans, the rate rose to 2.73% in February from 2.66% in January.

On a longer time perspective, mortgage rates are still low. Rates are coordinated with Bank of Israel interest rates, and the central bank’s rate is at a historical low, with analysts estimating that there is no trigger for a rise on the horizon.

The average interest rate on unlinked shekel mortgages rose to 2.6% in February, from 2.54% in January. The average rate takes account of both variable-rate and fixed-rate mortgages.

At present, variable-rate mortgages offer the lowest rates. Variable rates are based on the prime interest rate, which in turn is calculated as the Bank of Israel rate plus 1.5%. The bank’s rate is currently 0.1%, giving a prime rate of 1.6%.”

[RE/MAX commentary]It should be noted that rate increases primarily affected index-linked loans. Any changes in non-linked or prime-linked loans were minimal. According to statistics recently published by Bank Mizrachi-Tefahot, Israel’s largest mortgage lender, almost 2/3 of all mortgage loans being currently approved are non-linked, fixed-rate or prime (or a combination of the 3). Index-linked loans (while offering lower interest rates than fixed or non-linked loans) are much less popular since mortgage lenders have made fixed-rate & non-linked loans available at reasonable rates.

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