New interactive game mocks the absurdity of the Tel Aviv rental market

How dumb and unpredictable are the prices for run-down rental apartments in Tel Aviv? A new, interactive game that lets players estimate the rent of an apartment in Israel’s most expensive city based on some photographs, general location, and number of rooms.

The goal is to highlight some of the absurdities in the Tel Aviv real estate landscape, and to reflect how in tune players are with the realities of a squeezed, growing housing market. Players type in an estimate and hit “Next” to find out how close they were to the actual asking price.

online game called rent wtfData and software engineer Yoav Tepper, a self-described “data freak” and Tel Aviv resident.

Tepper told The Times of Israel that he was inspired to create Rent WTF because “you can hear everywhere, especially on social media, that everyone is talking about rental prices and how fast. Things are changing. I thought of a way that I can raise awareness of the situation, but also bring smiles to people’s faces.”

The game responds to guesses – true or false or close – with humour, encouraging players with messages “too impressive” or “either you’re cheating, or you’re a real estate appraiser” or “awful”. and “not even near.”

After five guesses, the game awards a point. (This author was wrong only 15% of the time, an estimate right on the nose.)

Yoav Tepper, creator of the Tel Aviv Rent WTF interactive game. (courtesy yow taper)

Tepper says the apartment “features” that the game provides as pricing clues are not predetermined.

“I took a bunch of listings and added the same details that were in the original listing. While some of them mentioned square feet or floor number, others only mentioned neighborhood or number of rooms. It also shows how inconsistent this market is.”

“I think there is so much variation in Tel Aviv rental prices that there is no single predictor for the asking price. Perhaps, ‘located in Tel Aviv’ is the most important feature,” he said.

The game is being widely circulated and has been met with universal enthusiasm. Reactions have included a politician and former Knesset member playing it live on TV (and massively underestimating actual rental prices), and positive responses on social media platforms from people who have taken the quiz. The more serious point behind is understood.

Rent WTF was a fun side-project designed to emphasize the level of unpredictability of Tel Aviv’s rental prices, Tepper said, adding that he wanted to make his voice heard in the debate, but didn’t know how much of the game. will progress rapidly.

“While some may do it right and just enjoy the game, others will go out of the way and make a wake-up call,” he explained.

Tepper’s own average error in estimating rental prices is 7.6%, he pointed out.

Rent WTF, an online game, lets players estimate asking prices for Tel Aviv rental apartments. (screenshot)

Tepper stated that his purpose for making the game was a social rather than a commercial one. But in the longer term, he wants to expand it to cover property markets outside Tel Aviv, and sees the game as a way to add “market opinion” to the housing prices equation.

rent roses in israel up to about 20% in the first half of 2022. But according to anecdotal evidence from tenants in Tel Aviv and real estate agentsLease renewals often have asking prices that are 20% to 40% higher than the previous year.

A recent analysis by The Times of Israel This suggests that while some people are willing to pay a premium to live in Tel Aviv, many are finding themselves out of town at the cost. With new construction focused on luxury residences, they see little chance of change.

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