Precisely because it is so steeped in religious and historical significance, modern-day Jerusalem is probably the most fascinating city in the world to visit or to live in. Today it is Israel’s largest metropolis, with a population of 940,000, of which 62% are Jews and 38% Arabs. Many of Jerusalem’s Jews are religious, and entire neighborhoods are inhabited by ultra-Orthodox Hassidim.
As can be expected, the most desirable real estate in Jerusalem is close to the center of the city, preferably with views of the fabled Old City. Several exclusive projects have recently been built in such desirable areas as Nachlaot near the trendy Mahane Yehuda market – a neighborhood which is undergoing a gentrification process and where American modern-Orthodox Jews are well represented among homeowners. Beit HaKerem, on the other hand, is a lovely upscale neighborhood that has a more secular population. Ein Kerem, favored by artists, is located on the southwest fringes of the city and offers breathtaking views of the Jerusalem hills. Rehavia is considered one of the more affluent residential neighborhoods in Jerusalem; designed as a garden suburb, it is centrally located and is known for its trendy gourmet shops and wine bars.
If you’re more of a beach person and prefer a vibrant, contemporary atmosphere, Tel Aviv is the place to be. With its outstanding restaurant and entertainment scene, myriad cultural attractions, amazing beaches, famous start-up ecosystem and diverse population, few places in the world can compete with Tel Aviv. In recent years, major investments have been made in renovating entire neighborhoods and upgrading the city’s public transportation system, so that Tel Aviv is more pleasant and welcoming than ever. Not surprisingly, there are few real estate bargains in the “Non-Stop City” and demand for housing far exceeds supply in almost every neighborhood.
If you have a particularly deep pocket, consider one of the new, exclusive beachfront projects along Tel Aviv’s “Golden Mile” or in Jaffa, which offer direct views of the Mediterranean. Other desirable options include the charming, trendy neighborhoods of Neve Tsedek and Lev HaIr. Located in the heart of the city near popular Rothschild Blvd., Lev HaIr boasts over 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings, many of which are in the process of being renovated.
Another worthwhile option is investing in an older apartment in Tel Aviv’s elegant, quiet northern section. Even if they require a facelift, these properties will retain their value in the long-term and renters will be willing to pay generous amounts.
The Sharon region, directly north of Tel Aviv, is one of the most desirable residential areas in Israel. Most of its towns have a family-oriented, suburban feel with populations at the high end of the socioeconomic scale, and include a sizable share of native English-speakers. Among the most upscale communities in the area: Ramat HaSharon, Herzliya and Raanana, which is home to a large contingent of immigrants from North America and other English-speaking countries.
Other pleasant communities in the Sharon area with somewhat lower real estate prices include Hod HaSharon, Kfar Saba and Rosh HaAyin. The largest city in the region is Netanya, which is especially popular among foreigners due to its location on the coast. Netanya’s newest neighborhood, Ir Yamim, is right on the beach and is especially beloved by Diaspora Jews, who have snapped up many of the apartments in the new residential complexes that offer pampering amenities.
Of course, there are many other appealing communities throughout Israel. With a bit of research, potential buyers can find the location that best suits their needs.