New interactive game mocks the absurdities of Tel Aviv’s rental market

How staggering and unpredictable have sales prices become even for rental apartments in Tel Aviv? A new interactive game that allows players to guess the rental price of an apartment in Israel’s most expensive city based on a few photos, the general location, and the number of rooms that have people hooked.

The aim is to highlight some of the absurdities in the Tel Aviv real estate landscape and reflect how in tune the players are with the realities of a squeezed and rising real estate market. Players type in a guess and press “next” to find out how close they were to the actual selling price.

The online game called rent wtfIt was created by data and software engineer Yoav Tepper, a self-described “data geek” and resident of Tel Aviv.

Tepper told The Times of Israel that he was motivated to create Rent WTF because “you can hear everywhere, especially on social media, everyone 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 put a smile on people’s faces.”

The game responds to guesses (right, wrong, or close) with humor, encouraging players with a message “very impressive” or “either you’re cheating or you’re a real estate appraiser” or criticizing them with “terrible” and “no way.” even close.”

After five guesses, the game provides a score. (This writer was wrong only 15% of the time, with one correct guess.)

Yoav Tepper, creator of the interactive game Tel Aviv Rent WTF. (Courtesy of Yoav Tepper)

Tepper says that the apartment “characteristics” that the game provides as price hints are not predefined.

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

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

The game has been circulating widely and has been received with universal enthusiasm. Reactions included a politician and former Knesset member playing live on TV (and vastly understating actual rental prices) and positive comments on social media platforms from those who tried and understood the more serious point behind the Test.

Rent WTF was a fun side project designed to emphasize the levels of unpredictability in Tel Aviv rental prices, Tepper said, adding that he wanted his voice to be heard in the debate, but had no idea how quickly the game would take off. .

“While some may do well and just enjoy the game, others will be far behind and have a wake-up call,” he explained.

Tepper’s average error in estimating rental prices is 7.6%, it revealed.

Rent WTF, an online game, allows players to guess the sale prices of rental apartments in Tel Aviv. (Screenshot)

Tepper said that his goal in creating the game was a social purpose rather than a commercial one. But in the longer term, he would like to extend it to cover real estate markets outside of Tel Aviv and see the game as a way to add “market opinion” to the house price equation.

Rents in Israel increased by about 20% in the first half of 2022. But in Tel Aviv, according to anecdotal evidence from tenants and real estate agentslease renewals often ask for prices 20% to 40% higher than last year.

A recent analysis by The Times of Israel it suggests that while some people are willing to pay a premium to live in Tel Aviv, many are simply out of town because of the price. With new construction focused on luxury residences, they see little prospect of change.

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