Appraisers: He Was Paid a Reasonable Price

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was paid a reasonable price for his Jerusalem home, considering the going prices in the Talbieh neighborhood at the time, real estate appraisers said yesterday.

Had Olmert sold his home today, he could have received a higher price, due to the 30 percent rise in real estate prices in central Jerusalem, they said. However, the rent he pays is low.

Appraiser Kobi Bir, formerly chair of the Jerusalem appraisers bureau, estimated the house could bring a higher price today than the $2.6 million Olmert received in January 2004. As for the rent, he said, it is usually 3 to 4 percent of the house value, i.e. $5,000 to $7,000 a month.

"So the benefit he gets is $5,000 a month or $60,000 a year. If he stays there for five years the benefit is worth $300,000," he said.

However, even if Olmert had received $3 million for his house it would still be a reasonable price, although a little higher than usual. "On the whole the deal appears reasonable," he said.

Ran Virnik, the appraisers bureau chair, said that in prestigious places, houses can be sold for even a million dollars above the going price.