Luxury apartment building in Tel Aviv.
A luxury apartment building in Tel Aviv. Overseas buyers are snapping up apartments to escape paying taxes on undeclared funds. Photo by Viewpoint
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When it comes to apartment prices, Tel Aviv is tops, according to a survey of the global luxury real-estate scene published in the Wall Street Journal.

The Candy Global Prime Sector Report rated Tel Aviv as the most expensive city in the up-and-coming luxury market sector, beating out cities like Miami, Chicago and Melbourne by a long way.

The cheapest city was Chennai, India, where an entry-level, two-bedroom luxury apartment cost around $160,000 in March. A similar apartment in Tel Aviv cost $1.45 million.

The report considered both economic factors, such as job availability and GDP, and what it termed qualitative aspects. The latter included the availability of cultural attractions and the prevalence of English as a first or second language.

The report quotes Tomer Fridman, CEO of Israel Sotheby's International Realty, as saying that "ten to 15 years ago, there wasn't an international product," in Israel. Today, on the other hand, the 930-square-meter (10,000-square-foot) penthouse in Tel Aviv's Manhattan Tower is listed for $25 million.

Fridman attributes the surge in foreign real estate purchases in Tel Aviv to the city's booming high-tech industry and interest from Europeans, among others.

The survey did not include the established prime real estate markets like New York, London and Hong Kong. Its purpose was to examine less mature markets where value is better. Those range for the well-established markets of Melbourne and Tel Aviv, which have yet to reach their full investment potential, to developing markets like Chennai and Lagos, Nigeria, which may have larger returns but pose more risk for buyers.

The other cities surveyed were Beirut, Cape Town, Dublin, Istanbul, Jakarta and Panama City.

The survey was conducted by design firm Candy & Candy, in cooperation with Savills World Research and Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management.