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Department of State

New Jersey-Israel Commission

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary of State


More than 300 participants from the USA and Israel participated in a webinar last week on the challenges and parallels of housing affordability issues of the two countries.


CONTACT: Lorri Layton, Rutgers Center for Real Estate, 973-353-2813,
Ravit Huberfeld,Alrov Institute for Real Estate Research, Tel Aviv University,

(Newark, New Jersey) - The Rutgers Center for Real Estate, the Alrov Institute for Real Estate Research at the Coller School of Management, Tel Aviv University, and the New Jersey-Israel Commission hosted a conference on ”PROMOTING HOUSING AFFORDABILITY AND SUSTAINABLE RENTAL HOUSING MARKETS: NEW JERSEY AND ISRAEL PERSPECTIVES” to an international audience of more than 300 participants.

Moderated by Debra Tantleff, Founding Principal of Tantum Real Estate and a member of the Executive Committee of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate, Ms. Tantleff collaborated with the New Jersey-Israel Commission in bringing the groups together for this timely presentation. The stage for the conference was set by Mark S. Levenson, Chair, New Jersey-Israel Commission, and Chair, Real Estate Department, Sills Cummis & Gross, PC. Mr. Levenson, in commenting about the program, said, “The collaboration of these two universities focuses attention on the critical need for affordable housing faced by both communities. The conversation demonstrated the issues of consideration but also the means of addressing them satisfactorily”.

Housing affordability realities of New Jersey and the United States was presented by Morris Davis, Paul V. Profeta Chair of Real Estate and the Academic Director of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate. His research demonstrated that more than 70 percent of the poorest quintile of renting households spend at least half of their income on rent, making a strong case for the development of more affordable housing in the state.

Danny Ben-Shahar, Director, Alrov Institute for Real Estate Research, Coller School of Management, Tel Aviv University, presented homeownership comparisons to the housing market in Tel Aviv and surrounding communities in Israel. According to Ben-Shahar, Tel Aviv is much more expensive than the rest of Israel, to the point where only a small fraction of the population can afford to buy a house using traditional metrics of affordability, supporting the need for an alternative affordable rental housing market.

Ella Weber, of the Strategy Planning Unit, Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, presented Israel’s housing policy at present and the future vision to address the housing challenges of its constituents. Her perspective is, “that Covid-19 has exposed Tel Aviv - Jaffa's affordability crisis to its full extent and can be an opportunity to initiate a stable, appropriate and fair Rental Housing Market in the city which can eventually become a competitive alternative to the current challenged market”.

Ron Avidan, CEO, Azorim Construction (1965) Ltd/Board Member, REIT Azorim H.F. Living Ltd and Ron Ladell, Senior Vice President, AvalonBay Communities, Inc., both of whom are developers in the housing markets of their respective countries, were both confident in the future of creating more rental housing opportunities, but each discussed the trials that they face. Home rule in New Jersey creates challenges for creating new multi-family housing development, thus decreasing new supply and keeping prices high. In Israel, growth in the population is expected to be 24% over the next decade, makes multifamily options more urgent for their citizens.

In the final presentation, Dr. Jenny Schuetz, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program explained the United States housing affordability issue in two ways. Her presentation stated, “The poorest 20% of U.S. families pay more than 50% of their income on housing. In addition, metro areas on both coasts have adopted land use regulations that limit housing development and drive up costs.” She listed new initiatives in Minneapolis and in Massachusetts to rezone single-family lots into lots with more density in an effort to create less expensive housing, especially near transit stops in the case of Massachusetts.

Andrew Gross, Executive Director of the NJ-Israel Commission, New Jersey Department of State, summarized the value of this conference, “The partnership of New Jersey and Israel is significant for many reasons, especially through the offering of this conference that shone a spotlight on the critical housing needs and trials each faces.”

Ravit Huberfeld, Executive Director of the Alrov Insititute for Real Estate Research added that “we see the cooperation between NJ and Israel as an excellent opportunity to discuss housing affordability from different angles and to promote solutions by sharing the two countries’ experience and approach”.

The program ended with questions from the audience. Subsequent sessions will continue the collaboration between the parties.

About the New Jersey – Israel Commission
In 1988, under Governor Thomas H. Kean, a Sister State Agreement was signed between the State of Israel and the State of New Jersey. The New Jersey-Israel Commission was established in 1989 to implement the goals of this agreement - to promote the development of trade, culture and educational exchanges; encourage the development of capital investment and joint business ventures; and foster a spirit of cooperation between the citizens of the State of Israel and the State of New Jersey.

About The Center for Real Estate at Rutgers Business School
The Center for Real Estate at Rutgers Business School was established in 2014 as a rising academic program positioned to transform and inspire the next generation of real estate leaders. The Center’s Advisory Board is comprised of the most knowledgeable and successful real estate professionals, in both academic study and in real world practice, and is dedicated to creating and cultivating a collaborative community of industry thought leaders.

About The Alrov Institute for Real Estate Research at the Coller School of Management, Tel Aviv University
Alrov Institute for Real Estate Research was established by the Tel Aviv University School of Management as a center dedicated to the study and dissemination of up-to-date knowledge in the field of real estate, on all its theoretical and applied aspects. As part of this, the Alrov Institute for Real Estate Research strives to promote real estate knowledge through innovative research of real estate in its broadest sense; train the next generation of leaders and decision-makers in the real estate market; and hold local and international forums consisting of industry researchers, policymakers and professionals. The Alrov Institute strives to achieve academic excellence and maintain its prominent international status in real estate research.



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