I heard a lot about real estate prices on my recent trip to Israel. Tel Aviv and desirable suburbs in the coastal plan are very costly. Foreigners buy up expensive apartments for visits to Israel and perhaps as an insurance policy. (Whether foreign purchases are a major issue or merely an anecdotal rallying cry was unclear.)
Shai Zamir, Ynet’s science editor, opined on the real estate issue here including the requisite reference to purchasing by French Jews. He also noted the way in which subsidies are avilable for those willing to live in the West Bank:
The housing crisis does not start at the heart of Tel Aviv. Young couples from Petach Tikva and Jerusalem cannot afford an apartment, but the government barely interferes. Well, that’s not completely true: Young couples can always put on a protective vest and move beyond the Green Line, where the government hands out rewards.
One thing I learned at a moshav south of Tel Aviv: the steep rise in the value of land in Israel’s coastal plain also works to the benefit of some Israelis. As the value of agricultural land rises and housing is difficult to find, a moshav, for example, could make a bundle by selling land for a new housing development or by keeping the land but building residential rental properties.
(Photos and text copyright Jeremy Pressman, 2011)