While members of Israel’s ultra-wealthy set and Jews from around the world looking to buy real estate in Israel still consider Tel Aviv to be the most desirable city when it comes to exclusive apartments, data from the past year show that demand is high in other cities as well.
According to the Yad2 Real Estate Index, more than 800 properties were sold in 2015 at prices exceeding 5 million shekels. Most of these sales were in Tel Aviv (nearly 500), Jerusalem, Netanya and Herzliya. A closer analysis of these transactions reveals that the majority involved penthouses and other premium apartments, with the exception of Herzliya, where most of the sales were detached houses.
Tel Aviv: NIS 87 million for a penthouse
The most expensive real estate transaction of 2015 – 87 million shekels – entailed a penthouse in a residential tower situated at the corner of Rothschild Blvd and Allenby in Tel Aviv. The 1,000 sq.m. apartment on the tower’s 27th floor includes 500 sq.m. of balconies. Another project where numerous apartments were sold in excess of 5 million shekels in 2015 is White City in Tel Aviv’s trendy Neve Tzedek neighborhood. White City, which is situated along Yitzhak Elhanan St. and is owned by Eurocom Real Estate Ltd. Zemach Hammerman Ltd. and a group of Belgian investors, includes a 30-story residential tower with 160 luxury apartments, most of which will be combined into large apartments. The public spaces will be for the exclusive use of the project’s residents and will include a spa, a gym, an outdoor swimming pool with a tanning deck, a lobby, a lounge, a conference room and more. In addition to the residential tower, White City will also include a 5-story pavilion compound with special duplex and loft apartments, as well as a boulevard of boutiques in the style of Neve Tzedek. A 340 sq.m. apartment on the 22nd floor of the tower was sold for 19 million shekels, while a 190 sq.m. apartment with a 19 sq.m. balcony on the 12th floor sold for 9 million shekels.
Jerusalem: high demand by foreigners
In Jerusalem, 104 apartments were sold in 2015 at prices of at least 5 million shekels. As the capital of Israel and a city of great religious and political importance, Jerusalem real estate is in high demand by both foreign residents and Israelis.
Foreigners mainly purchase exclusive apartments in neighborhoods such as Talbiye, Rechavia, Mamilla and Old Katamon, where prices range from 45,000 to 70,000 shekels per sq.m. Indeed, demand from foreigners has generated higher prices for luxury apartments throughout the city. The most expensive apartment purchased in Jerusalem in 2015 was for a garden apartment in the Waldorf Astoria project – for 24 million shekels. A 200 sq.m. six-room apartment in Talbiye sold for 14.4 million shekels.
Some of the areas surrounding Jerusalem are also known for their up-market building standards. Ramat Givat Ze’ev, for example, is an exclusive neighborhood situated on a mountain ridge above Givat Ze’ev with breathtaking views. Even before construction has started, most of the lots have already been sold and will be used for detached houses. The neighborhood has an abundance of public spaces, with expansive green parks that have thousands of trees, well-tended gardens and playgrounds for children, as well as wide roads and paths with LED lighting, and a rainwater stream. Furthermore, the plans call for public squares with fountains, tennis and squash courts, a country club, a commercial center, and even a private school system for residents.
The Nofei Israel Company is expected to invest approximately 750 million shekels in the neighborhood, of which 160 million will be used for landscaping and infrastructure. Around 230 apartments were sold even before ground was broken, at an average price of 3.8 million shekels for a 270 sq.m. two-family house. The Nofei Israel Company is the neighborhood’s principal developer, and it’s building a project that includes 370 housing units – 130 detached houses ranging in size from 250 sq.m. to 450 sq.m.and 240 apartments in 13 buildings of 10 stories each. The project offers 3, 4, 5 and 6-room apartments, garden apartments and larger than usual exclusive penthouses.
The building standards are especially high and include an elegant lobby, glass-wall elevators and more. The starting price for 4-room apartments is 1.8 million shekels and for 5 rooms it’s 1.95 million shekels, while penthouses start at 2.9 million shekels and 270 sq.m. two-family houses start at 3.4 million shekels. “These standards are practically unheard of in Israel,” says a representative of Nofei Israel. “This is an exclusive neighborhood both as far as the landscaping and the level of construction are concerned”.
Netanya: 63 sales exceeding 5 million shekels
In 2015, no fewer than 63 apartments were sold for at least 5 million shekels. The most exclusive neighborhoods of Netanya are Ir Yamim and Nat 600, where there are projects with large upmarket apartments. In Netanya’s Ir Yamim neighborhood, a penthouse apartment was sold for 22 million shekels.
The Nat 600 complex is a preferred location for affluent people from the Sharon and Gush Dan regions who are seeking to down-size their homes, as the average price of a 4-room apartment stands at 3.1 million shekels. Recently, a 5-room apartment was sold in the neighborhood for 5.98 million shekels. The Nat 600 neighborhood meets all the main criteria – altitude, great views, proximity to the sea and high building standards.
One of the prominent projects in Nat 600 is the Lagoon complex, which boasts two luxury residential towers of 34 and 37 stories, with a total of 320 apartments of the highest standards designed by the best architects and built by the leading construction companies. The complex also includes the exclusive 300-room West Lagoon hotel on an area of 15,000 sq.m., offering spectacular views of the sea. Each building features a private swimming pool, a residents’ lounge, a large high-ceilinged lobby, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a café, spa, restaurant, upscale boutique, 24/7 security, underground parking and more.
Hanan Segal, Marketing VP at the Dizengoff Trade Company, notes that, “the high demand for luxury housing on the seashore and the construction of the Nat 600 neighborhood in Netanya’s west side, south of the Carmel Hotel and along the cliff on the shore line, have caused luxury towers to extend beyond the Ir Yamim neighborhood to other upscale areas in Netanya, such as Nat 600. It’s an isolated neighborhood adjacent to the shore line, so that people looking to escape all the action of Ir Yamim can find a quiet refuge in Nat 600. This neighborhood attracts a strong population interested in buying an apartment at reasonable prices close to the sea and only 20 minutes away from Tel Aviv".
Hod Hasharon: Jump in high-ticket sales expected
Other Israeli cities where luxury residences are being sold include Ramat Hasharon, Hod Sharon, Haifa, Bat Yam, Rishon Lezion and Ashdod.
According to Yaron Tzuberi, Marketing VP at Carasso Real Estate Ltd, which markets the Yeshurun Towers project in Hod Hasharon, “unlike in Tel Aviv, it is relatively rare for apartments to sell for more than 5 million shekels in Hod Hasharon, even though the penthouses in Hod Sharon are no less exclusive and well-designed than those in Tel Aviv. For example, in the project that we’re building in the west of Hod Hasharon, a range of 160 sq.m. penthouses are available with 40-140 sq.m. balconies. Duplex penthouses also include a 4-5 meter swimming pool; and residents will be able to enjoy both a swim and an open panoramic view of the whole Sharon and Gush Dan region. The penthouse on the top floor is being offered for around 5 million shekels. In the past few months, two penthouses were sold in the project for 4.5 and 4.6 million shekels. I expect to see an increase in the number of transactions in the 5 million shekel range, since there are quite a few projects in Hod Hasharon that are nearing completion and several apartments, especially penthouses, are still available".
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