Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Israeli Real Estate Boom - fueled by part time Zionists?

The question is, if these foreigners are just making a good investment, if they intend to live here, or if they intend to be "part time Zionists."
The Yoo building project of luxury apartments is seen in Tel Aviv as the sun sets, April 27.
TEL AVIV (JTA) – Under the shadow of cranes, steel beams and gleaming reflective glass, a forest of high-rise buildings seems to be taking over the Tel Aviv horizon – part of a nationwide building boom that Israelis and Diaspora Jews are buying into.

"The first time I was here was in 1983, and Tel Aviv has gone through a huge transformation from then to now," said Howard Glatzer, who runs a real estate fund that invests in New York City properties. "As a Jew from New York who is very accustomed to seeing high-rises everywhere, I think it's fantastic, it shows the vitality of Israel, and that's great."

Glatzer took in the sight of shimmering new towers and construction during a tour of Jaffa, the southern part of Tel Aviv, with a group of other New York real estate developers who were visiting last week as part of the 90th anniversary mission of the UJA-Federation of New York.

With increasing disposable income and a desire to live either part-time or eventually full-time in Israel, Jews from abroad -- especially the United States, England and France -- are finding a home in the Jewish state's real estate landscape.

In 2002, foreign buyers invested $192 million in Israeli real estate Just four years later the number had soared to $1.43 billion, according to the Bank of Israel.

"Israel is becoming one of the players in commercial and real estate markets," said Hillel Suna, general manager of the Jerusalem branch of the Bank of Jerusalem, one of the country's largest mortgage banks for foreign residents. "There are two main groups here -- individual investors buying several apartments and the big money people on the commercial side looking at Israel as a potential real estate commercial center."

Even Donald Trump wants in: He has plans to build a 70-story residential and office tower in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan. Leading international architects Philippe Stack and Richard Meier both have high-rise projects under construction in Tel Aviv.

"It reminds me of China," said Andy Singer, whose company, the Singer and Bassuk Organization, finances major Manhattan and other U.S. building projects. "The big joke in China is that the national bird is the crane. I think in many ways that is probably true of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem."

"I think it's a sign that people who have money to invest have the courage, enthusiasm and high regard for Israel and its ability to get past the continuing troubles with the Palestinians. These are assets you cannot move," said Singer, who was on the UJA-Federation mission.

Those buying in Jerusalem tend to be religious Jews, while those in Tel Aviv and surrounding areas usually are more secular. The French, who tend to seek out property as close as possible to the sea, have flocked especially to beachside cities like Netanya, Ashdod and Ashkelon.

Shana Novick, a New Yorker who bought a two-bedroom apartment with her husband on the edge of Jerusalem's Katmon neighborhood, said she is thrilled about having a second home in Israel.

The Novicks rent it out to American rabbinical students and try to spend summers here themselves.

"It's just wonderful having a home in Jerusalem; I cannot say how much pleasure it gives us," she said. "This is a home, we furnished it with a great deal of love, we entertain there.

"We never bought a summer house in the States, and now we joke it's our country house. It just takes a long time to get there."

Foreign ownership in the central neighborhoods of Jerusalem has changed the face of the city. In some areas, English is heard more than Hebrew.

With many of the American Jews who buy in Israel coming only for holidays, their apartments often stand empty, creating a ghost-town feel in some projects and areas.

Foreign sales accounted for about 25 percent of recent purchases in central Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Rehavia and Katamon, and in the Jewish quarter of the Old City, said Davyd Tal, who owns the Jerusalem Homes agency and specializes in foreign clients.

"The sellers are usually Israeli and not religious, and they are moving out of Jerusalem," Tal said. "Jerusalem is losing its secular population, which is going to suburbs such as Modi'in and Mevasseret Zion. Young, secular couples cannot afford to buy in Jerusalem anymore. They are basically being priced out."

The Jerusalem market is becoming pricey even for foreigners, who as a result increasingly are seeking outlying neighborhoods.

Beyond reasons of Zionism or family ties to Israel, European buyers are seen to be driven by fears of rising anti-Semitism at home, observers say.

English Jews have more buying power right now because the pound is rising against the dollar. But they're also being prodded by fear, Suna notes.

"There is a general feeling of discomfort, with the signs of the beginning of anti-Semitism," he said.

Uri Amitzur, an architect and developer who specializes in restoring historic buildings, showed members of the New York mission around. He said Jaffa, a mixed Arab-Jewish area with older buildings, was drawing foreign interest because of its proximity to the sea and prices that were lower relatively than in other parts of Tel Aviv.

Amitzur recently sold a large, restored building to a French buyer. Buildings from the early 20th century fill Jaffa's narrow streets, while closer to central Tel Aviv, Bauhaus buildings from the 1930s are in demand.

"Prices are soaring into the sky," Amitzur said. "But people understand that although it's a large investment to buy a restored building, it's considered a luxury address and looks incredible."

On leafy Rothschild Boulevard, one of the first streets built in Tel Aviv, Bauhaus buildings and sleek new high-rises have become premium real estate Properties there have risen in value by 40 percent in the past two years, Ha'aretz reported.

A luxury apartment in a new high-rise on Rothschild Boulevard reportedly is going for $1.7 million. Apartments in renovated Bauhaus or other buildings marked for preservation sell for $4,000 to $5,000 per square meter.

Prices can be even more expensive in prime areas of Jerusalem, such as neighborhoods in the city center or within walking distance of the Western Wall.

Investors and sellers are getting huge sums, said Tal, the Jerusalem real estate broker.

"They are asking any price, and getting it," he said.

Prices for apartments in more luxury projects in the city, such as the King David Residence or Arov Mamilla, are selling for about $10,000 per square meter, he said.

Lyle Plocher, a Phoenix-based real estate broker, became so intrigued with the idea of helping buyers purchase property in Israel that he created a Web site that allows people to buy even from afar. The site, Buy Property in Israel,, provides tips and information to potential buyers abroad and connects them with real estate agents in Israel.

Among the help options offered is information on the buying process, including mortgages and various costs and commissions.

Plocher has been encouraged by the number of visitors to the site.

"It's something that's the desire in most people's Jewish hearts -- to own property in Israel," he said.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by

Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israël in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog

Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Isfake lobby

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory