Best neighborhoods not always the most expensive

The neighborhoods ranked as top quality by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics have surprisingly reasonable prices.

You don't have to be that wealthy in order to buy a home in one of Israel's best neighborhoods, according to the latest rankings by the Central Bureau of Statistics. Local authorities and individual neighborhoods are placed in ten socioeconomic brackets (one is the worst and ten the best) and then ranked according to such parameters as quality of services, standard of living, education and income of residents etc.

The lowest ranked in the lowest bracket of all for local authorities was given to the Negev Bedouin authority of Neve Midbar, while the highest ranking in the highest of the ten brackets went jointly to four locations: the local council of Savion, near Petah Tikva, Kfar Shmariyahu near Herzliya, Omer and Lahavim, both near Beersheva.

But the picture is less straightforward and predictable, when it comes to individual neighborhoods within cities. 49 neighborhoods, 3% of all neighborhoods in Israel, received a higher score than Savion, Kfar Shmariyahu, Omer and Lahavim. 22 of these neighborhoods are in Tel Aviv, eight in Haifa, three in Ramat Gan and Ramat Hasharon, two in Zikhron Yaakov and the rest dispersed around the country.

Price is not necessarily an indication of socioeconomic quality. Crudely speaking it is true that high socioeconomic values translate into a high price, but for the Central Bureau of Statistics ranking, it is clear that the correlation is far from absolute.

Recent deals in Omer just north of Beersheva show that a house can be bought there for between NIS 2.4 million and NIS 3.4 million, while in nearby Lahavim houses go for between NIS 2 million and NIS 3 million. Yet in Herzliya, where Sheldon Adelson and Roman Abramovich last year bought homes for record breaking astronomical prices, as well as other well-heeled cities in the Sharon region like Ra'anana and Kfar Saba, there are no representatives in the top cluster of neighborhoods.

Less surprisingly, Jerusalem does not have a single representative in the top socioeconomic brackets of neighborhoods with Beit Hakerem in the ninth (second highest) cluster while Rehavia, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics methodology, is only in the seventh cluster, even though a 3-4 room apartment in Rehavia sells for between NIS 3 million and NIS 4 million.

Strong neighborhoods in diverse cities

There are neighborhoods where the prices of homes are not especially high but they find themselves ranked as one of Israel's best places to live. For example, Pardes Reisfeld in Kiryat Ono, since it was founded at the end of the 1990s, has been a true real estate star and even today, it remains one of the most sought after places to live in central Israel outside of Tel Aviv. Four room apartments in the neighborhood in recent months have been selling for between NIS 2.9 million and NIS 3.1 million. Expensive but a relatively reasonable price for a neighborhood ranked in the highest number 10 bracket.

Area 9 in Givatayim, near the Givatayim mall, is another relatively new neighborhood that has established an exclusive reputation in recent years. Most of the neighborhood was built between the late 1980s and early 2000s. In a city with mainly old apartments, Area 9 has emerged as a quality neighborhood with four room apartments selling recently for between NIS 2.6 million and Nis 3.2 million.

It is clear that the main reason for relatively reasonable prices in these neighborhoods is their location, which is much less in demand than central Tel Aviv, for example. Nevertheless, the fact is that Israelis from the highest socioeconomic bracket have chosen to live in these neighborhoods.

Another such neighborhood is Ahuzat Hanasi in Rehovot, which borders on the Weizmann Institute of Science. Most of the apartments there were built 15-20 years ago and over the past six months four-room apartments there have been selling for NIS 2 million to NIS 2.3 million.

More examples of top neighborhoods include Givat Eden and Neve Shalev in Zikhron Yaakov, which together make up the northern and northeastern part of the city. Givat Eden can be seen on the ridge inland from the Old Coastal Highway (Road 4) and from Road 67 and the town of Faradis. Due to the diversity of locations and different types of properties in the two neighborhoods, houses have sold there recently for between NIS 2.4 million and NIS 4 million.

Further north in Haifa, Carmelia is the most sought after neighborhood in the city. A lot of TAMA 38 earthquake upgrade projects have been carried out in the suburb and this explains, in part, the wide range in prices with four room apartments that have undergone TAMA 38 selling for NIS 2.5 to NIS 3 million and building that have not selling for NIS 1.7 to NIS 2 million.

Back in the center of the country the Malibu neighborhood in Ness Ziona is characterized by large apartment buildings and relatively high prices. Five room apartments are currently selling for NIS 3.5 million and houses for NIS 4 million.

Kokhav Ya'ir northeast of Tel Aviv was initially associated with senior military officers when it was founded 20-30 years ago. Two of its neighborhoods in the north and south including the heart of the town have been placed in the highest number ten bracket by the Central Bureau of Statistics. In the south of the town houses were recently sold for NIS 3 million while in the north around Egoz Street, there was even a recent deal for above NIS 4 million.

Another neighborhood associated with the military and ranked in the top socioeconomic bracket is Neve Ilan in Yavne - a neighborhood of houses in the west of the city with prices ranging between NIS 3.4 million and NIS 3.9 million.

An additional location popular with army officers and bracketed in the top socioeconomic echelon is the southern part of Neve Afek, an eastern suburb of Rosh Ha'ayin near Road 5. Apartments have sold recently here for between NIS 2.6 million and NIS 3.6 million.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on January 12, 2021

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