HUD, Israel Ministry of Finance to study affordable housing, mortgage issues

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Israeli Ministry of Finance are joining forces through a memorandum of cooperation to explore and share approaches on housing and mortgage finance issues plaguing their nations.

The memorandum, signed by Deputy Secretary Pamela Hughes Patenaude, on behalf of Secretary Ben Carson, and Israel's Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen, aims to open channels for exchanging information on administrative, policy and technical expertise. It will also serve as an avenue for the U.S. and Israel to collaborate on research and programs related to housing and community development.

"This cooperative agreement will serve as another building block in strengthening the close ties between our nations on a number of common issues that impact our citizens," Patenaude said in a press release.

"We plan to share research and best practices for addressing the affordable housing challenges facing our nations. I am convinced that working together, we will be able to learn from each other to improve the lives of those we serve," she continued.

Like the U.S., the Israeli housing market is suffering from rising home prices and a slower pace of construction. Israel's housing market fell to its lowest level since 2010 as housing starts dropped 21% year-over-year in the first half of 2018, according the country's Central Bureau of Statistics.

And while there are also many differences in the housing and mortgage landscapes of each nation, there is still value in joining together.

"The memorandum of cooperation on housing is an opportunity to deepen the close ties between Israel and the United States on an important issue that preoccupies both countries," said Cohen. "Israel and the United States are facing very different housing challenges, but we can learn from these differences and cooperate on sharing acquired knowledge for the benefit of the next generations."

The memorandum of cooperation signing took place on Monday in Jerusalem during a U.S.-Israeli Joint Economic Development Group meeting, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leading the U.S. delegation on behalf of President Trump.

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Affordable housing Housing market Housing inventory Homebuilders Home prices Ben Carson Steven Mnuchin Donald Trump HUD Israel