Lower the Cost of Living and Housing Prices
Cost of living is a term that refers to the average cost of household consumption in a given area that is needed in order to maintain a certain standard of living. As such, it represents the purchasing power value in certain countries (or cities), and has a cardinal impact on the level and quality of life, in this case of the residents of Israel.
The cost of living in Israel is high in an international comparison also relative to OECD member countries. The housing crisis in Israel in recent years, which stems from an insufficient supply of apartments and from monetary policy, has resulted in a significant rise in housing and rent prices in relation to the average salary, creating a considerable burden on the cost of living of the citizens of Israel. Furthermore, low competition in the finance market in Israel, in areas such as banking, insurance and credit, has resulted in the high cost of financial services and fees. A high cost of living primarily impacts the middle-class and weakened populations in society, as a higher percentage of their income is spent on necessary expenses in order to maintain a basic standard of living. Therefore, the price of the basket of goods has a significant effect on the quality of life of different population groups, and improving the ability to contend with the cost of living offers strong potential to contribute to narrowing gaps in Israel.
Technology in general and digitization in particular have significant potential to help reduce the cost of living for the residents of Israel. In particular, they can ease the burden on the middle-class and weakened population groups. Digital tools can be used to streamline, simplify and shorten the value chain for producing housing in Israel, which will increase the supply of apartments.
Israeli consumers can be exposed to a variety of tools that can help them make more financially responsible decisions, compare prices and control their expenses. Furthermore, in the digital age it is possible to increase competition and actively lower the cost of many and varied products, as well the cost of their supply. Thus the digital revolution offers an opportunity to reduce the cost of living, and in doing so to narrow socio-economic gaps in Israel.
Reducing the cost of living through digital means will be achieved by addressing the following four major areas:
- Advancing digitization processes in the housing and real estate area
- Developing the financial area in the digital age
- Promoting the transition to digital products that produce economic savings
- Foster informed consumption by digital means
> Digital Land Registry Office
The Land Registration and Settlement of Rights Department is acting to provide its services online and digitally. For example: registering or cancelling a warning note for an apartment, obtaining a Land Registry Extract and issuance of documents of a shared building. By expanding the services provided online, it will be possible to shorten waiting and handling times, simplify registration procedures and reduce the burden of bureaucracy in Israel.
The pilot was launched in Beer Sheba and following its success is now expanding to additional areas.
> Digital Books
The variety of digital books includes hundreds of school books adapted or created for pedagogic needs in the digital age. The books, in a variety of subjects and for all age groups, can be ordered by schools in the National ICT program, many of them for free. Thus it is possible to save families in Israel significant expenses on school books every year, and to reduce the cost of living for these families.