Hod Hasharon one of Israel’s fastest growing cities

In the year 2000 Hod Hasharon was slated to become one of the top 7 of Israel’s fastest growing cities with a then population of 36,000.In 2013 the population is an estimated 52000 with a new neighborhood called Madhan 1200 which is rapidly building 100’s of new 5 room units which are ready now and more buildings for occupancy in the next 1-5 years. As the Tel Aviv area increases its population upward with new skyscrapers and as commute by train expands and becomes more accessible, Hod Hasharon, which has land for growth appropriation is in natural proximity to the high tech and biotech centers of business in Tel Aviv, Herzliyah and Raanana. Hod Hasharon sits due west of Herzliyah off the 4 Hwy. and south of Raanana-Kfar Saba making it a highly central location to Israel’s densely populated coast.

The Aura development company has also expanded its growth with a new tender to urban renewal in an older section of Hod Hasharon which will transform 4 buildings containing 56 in the central Ramatayim neighborhood which will create in its place 200 new units in six 24-story towers.
hodhasharon tower

Tel Aviv moves out of Top 20 most expensive cities in 2013

Tel Aviv has dropped out of the top 20 of most expensive world cities, according to Business Insider. After 2011, the rankings for the most expensive cities in the world were in and Tel Aviv was 19. IMG_8713telavivfeb2014 Their estimates are based on those living in the city, not travelers coming in. Oslo ranked 1 on most lists, a few others named Tokyo. In 2012 it was Moscow.

Not that it has become much cheaper to live in Tel Aviv, but factors influencing the ranking could have pushed other cities ahead. Tel Aviv is still more expensive than Manhattan which is the highest US city ranked at #43 in the world.

Cost of living is based on several factors, affordability of housing in relationship to average incomes, cost of basic food items, a fast-food meal, costs of daily goods, services and public transportation.

In relationship to the cost of housing, statements coming out of business and government leaders and real estate professionals in Tel Aviv are at odds as to whether there is a bubble or not. At a recent Dun-Bradstreet forum all the economic experts except one, stated there was a bubble, that prices in Tel Aviv are 20% above the affordability index.
According to the Israeli business magazine ‘Globes’, Real Estate Appraisers Association in Israel chairman Ohad Danus. “Prices have risen because of building costs, VAT; developers’ profits are falling, and most of the rise is because of land, which is almost entirely sold by the government, which is the main beneficiary of the rising prices. Israel has failed in the past few years in creating supply in high demand areas which could stem the rise in prices.”

Outside investors, such as a British couple I helped purchase housing here, saw large Israeli cities as an investment they could afford, and simply chose to continue renting and working in London, the price of purchase being out of their reach there.

Tel Aviv still remains highly attractive, with its beaches, urban sophistication and ease of transport and atmosphere of freedom and social life. Young couples are choosing to buy outside and commute, or purchase an investment outside of Tel Aviv and rent in the city.

Two Scandinavian Banks Boycott, threaten Israeli Banks

According to the popular Walla Hebrew news site the Swedish Nordea Bank, which is the largest bank in Scandinavia, and the Norwegian Danske Bank, have announced that they will boycott Bank Hapoalim for funding projects in what they call “occupied territory”.

The Nordea Bank also demanded that Bank Mizrahi Tefahot and Bank Leumi immediately make public their financing operations over the green line. The most familiar areas where building continues to be financed and flourish are the formerly outside the green line Jerusalem neighborhoods of Arnona, Pisgat Zeev, and Har Homa.

The action taken by the banks is the first bank to bank boycott. An Israeli authority highlighted that these are not decisions by the governments of Denmark and Sweden, but of private companies, making it impossible to for Israeli political leaders to protest.

Billboard for Bank Tefahot In Arnona, Jerusalem

Billboard for Bank Tefahot In Arnona, Jerusalem

Jerusalem Periphery – Needed Expansion, Prices rise

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On the heels of one of the Kerry visits controversy stirred around the dual announcement that 1400 new housing units would be released for building, 700 of which would be in East Jerusalem. At the same time came the announcement that as a gesture towards peace, 26 convicted terrorists would be released from Israeli prisons.

The majority of the homes, will be built in established Jerusalem neighborhoods, 387 of them in the Ramat Shlomo, and 311 in Gilo. Last summer there were already tenders given for building in Har Homa, 400 units in Ramat Givaat Zeev, and Gilo.

Prices have been consistently climbing in Jerusalem to the point where a softening had come due to high prices and the existing market in Jerusalem not offering what families are looking for in their budgets, parking garages, balconies and a minimum of 3 bedrooms. Thus surprisingly areas that had seen a decline in prices and buyers, such as Maale Adumim, Givat Zeev and the peripheral neighborhoods of Jerusalem, Pisgat Zeev and Har Homa are seeing a 10-15% gain in the last year.

To put it simply, a four-room apartment in Maaleh Adimim that would have sold for 1,190,000 last spring is now closing at 1,250,000 to 1,300,000.