Of course, if you want to see the Mediterranean Sea and even take a dip, access to Tel Aviv’s beaches is free. But if you want to see it from 100 meters or more above, it could cost you as much as 133,000 shekels ($38,800) a square meter.
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Nevertheless, it seems there is no shortage of takers. In TheMarker’s list of the 10 most expensive residential properties bought in the past year, three of the top four were homes right up on the Tel Aviv beachfront (and the fourth and fifth on the list weren’t too far away). Jerusalem’s attraction as a Holy City, with breathtaking views to boot, earned it only two places — and those are in the bottom half of the list.
Here are the 10 most expensive home sales of the year through April 2014 (and when they can be identified, the buyers as well).
1. NIS 120 million: A Mediterranean view
The Canadian Jewish businessman Sylvan Adams has the honor of buying the most expensive home on the market in Israel in the past year, indeed the most expensive home ever sold in Israel. For 120 million shekels ($34.8 million) he is now the owner of a penthouse apartment at 10 Herbert Samuel, a luxury project developed by Ofer Investments on the Tel Aviv waterfront. Adams’ apartment has a 1,000 square meters (10,800 square feet) of interior space and another 300 square meters of balcony space on the top two floors of a 21-story building. Adams, 55, is one of Canada’s wealthiest citizens, according to Forbes magazine, and runs Iberville Investments, a family real estate business started by his father, Marcel. According to Forbes, Montreal-based Iberville has a portfolio of about 100 properties, including malls and office buildings. The 10 Herbert Samuel project is in the final stages of construction, with occupancy slated for the end of this year. Adams paid 109,000 shekels a square meter.
2. NIS 81.5 million: Another sea view
This full-floor apartment with a view of the Mediterranean from 17 floors above in the David Promenade Residences, a project developed by businessman Henry Taic. At 81.5 million shekels, it is generally believed to be the most expensive home purchased in 2013. (Adams bought his No. 1 home this year.) Interestingly, the 612-square meter apartment on Tel Aviv’s seafront Hayarkon Street is nine floors below the penthouse, but the buyer — who remains anonymous — has the privilege of knowing that the project is considered among the country’s most prestigious. According to Tax Authority records, the apartment features 10 rooms and four parking spaces. Each apartment in the building will have a 12-square-meter balcony facing the sea. On a square meter basis, the buyer paid a heftier 133,000 shekels a square meter.
3. NIS 79.4 million: A bit of Bauhaus
Not all of Tel Aviv’s most expensive real estate are high-rise apartments with sea views. This penthouse, reportedly for 79.4 million shekels, is in the heart of the “White City” district that showcases Tel Aviv’s world renown Bauhaus architecture. Located in the Lenox Nahmani project at the corner of Nahmani and Ahad Ha’am Streets, not far from Rothschild Boulevard, the 560–square-meter, fourth-floor penthouse was purchased last October by Avi Naor, one of the founders of the telecommunications billing giant Amdocs. The original building, constructed in 1924, is a UNESCO-designated landmark, with two adjacent structures above and to the side done in what developers call Bauhaus style, all designed by the Paris-based architectural firm AW2 and Israeli architects Amnon Bar Or and Eden Barr. When completed, the project will feature 25 apartments. Naor paid 142,000 shekels a square meter.
4. NIS 48.3 million: More Mediterranean
Another transaction at the 10 Herbert Samuel project is a 450-square-meter, so-called mini-penthouse bought by businessman Gabi Tamman for 48.3 million shekels. The unit occupies the entire 19th floor of the 21-story building and includes a 60-square-meter balcony. Tamman, who is 81, spends most of his time at his other residences in Monte Carlo, London and Geneva. He told the Globes business daily that he bought the Tel Aviv apartment as a gift for his wife after she was involved in a serious accident in Israel. She will have a sea view almost as spectacular asher next door neighbor Adams, but for just 103,000 shekels a square meter.
5. NIS 43.5 million: Wine in the cellar
The Canadian Jewish businessman Moti Maximoff will get views of Tel Aviv in every direction, including the Mediterranean some distance away. The 43.5 million shekels he spent bought him the entire 31st floor of the luxury 37-story Meier on Rothschild project, which is named for the celebrity American architect and project designer Richard Meier. Maximoff’s apartment features four 12-square-meter balconies. Maximoff purchased another 12 apartments in the building at an overall price of about 100 million shekels. When completed, the project will offer residents a wine cellar, a spa, six floors of underground parking and a luxury shopping mall dubbed the Meier Strip. The lead developer for the project is Berggruen Residential. Maximoff paid 103,000 shekels a square meter.
6. NIS 40.4 million: High-priced Jerusalem
This 40.4-million-shekel apartment in Jerusalem’s new Waldorf Astoria hotel and apartment complex was purchased by the Russian-born oligarch Leonid Nevzlin, whose business interests include a stake in the Haaretz Group. It is one of about 30 luxury apartments built adjacent to the Waldorf hotel, which stands next to the Mamilla shopping and luxury home complex, just west of the Old City’s Jaffa Gate. Nevzlin’s 500-square-meter unit is actually two apartments that were combined. Surprisingly, the home is on the second floor of an eight-story building, part of a complex that integrates the facade of the Mandate-era landmark Palace Hotel, which serves as the hotel portion of the development, and the former customs and tax building. The project was developed by the Reichman family of Canada. Nevzlin paid a mere 80,800 shekels a square meter.
7. NIS 35.4 million: Used goods in Tel Aviv
This unit is the most expensive of the top 10 for a second-hand home. It’s an apartment in the Tzameret Towers, better known as the Akirov Towers, a complex of three 34-story buildings on Pinkas Street just north of the center of Tel Aviv. According to tax records, this 400-square-meter-unit on the 32nd floor was sold for 35.4 million shekels, or 88,000 shekels a square meter. The name of the buyer is not known.
8. NIS 34 million: Moving northward
This 700-square-meter house built in 2009 on Hanuriot Street in the upscale seaside town of Herzliya Pituah, just north of Tel Aviv, sold for 34 million shekels. The street, which is at the southern end of the residential area of Herzliya Pituah, relatively close to the high-tech and office district to the south, is not considered among the most prestigious. Only two other residential properties in Herzliya Pituach sold for more than 20 million shekels over the course of the year. The neighborhood is less in demand than in the past among foreign purchasers, who now seem to have a stronger preference for high-rise luxury apartments, sparing them the responsibility of maintaining a private home, says a local real estate agent. That might explain the low per-square-meter price of about 48,600 shekels.
9. NIS 30.7 million: Old City view
The purchasers of this seven-room apartment on Elisha Street in Jerusalem are unidentified Americans, who paid 30.7 million shekels for the 368-square-meter unit one block from the Old City walls. Although this apartment is in a building constructed in 2008, the developer held out for the right price, so technically the property is new. The view includes the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. The price worked out to 83,000 shekels a square meter.
10. NIS 28 million: More of Meier
The last item on the top 10 list is also in the Meier on Rothschild project in Tel Aviv, but it’s a half-floor rather than a full floor of the tower. This 495-square-meter unit on the building’s top story, the 37th, was purchased for 28 million shekels. Sources close to the transaction say the buyer is an Israeli high-tech executive. The price worked out to 56,500 shekels a square meter.