Young Jerusalem residents founded a group called “New Spirit” with a goal of reclaiming the identity of Jerusalem as a multi-identity city to help tip the balance of the city’s cultural personality. Their goal is to attract young families to build their lives in Jerusalem who are secular and to resist what is known as the “haredization” of the city’s neighborhoods.
In partnership with builders, “new Spirit” has claimed 30 apartments in the New Talpiot development on Beit Lehem Road to be sold at a 15% discount. Buyers need to meet a number of criteria: that at least one of the couple is under age 41; that the partners work at least a combined 125% job; and at least one partner is a college graduate. Guidelines can be altered and will be judged on an individual basis.
Prices will compete very closely with new construction the relatively new but religiously mixed community of Har Homa. A three-bedroom apartment (105 square meters) starts at NIS 1.475 million ($390,000); and a 121-square meter four-bedroom apartment starts at NIS 1.685 million ($440,000). Prices for existing homes in Har Homa are slightly lower.
The contractors are Balilus Group, M. Aviv, and the Rosenzweig and Baruch families, state the idea is based from a social outlook to a sector they perceive as desirable purchasers. THey voice concern over the high and prohibitive cost of buying in Jerusalem for two-income young families.
The action group with the builders hopes that their actions however small will influence perceptions to provoke a shift in the Jerusalem population and the appeal of the city. THis is their third housing group purchase.
Elisheva Mazia, director-general of New Spirit, stated, “Each time, it’s exciting to see how we open the door for young couples to buy an apartment in Jerusalem at a discount and make a life in the city.”