Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the capital of the Jewish world—and, for many of our clients, living there is a dream come true. However, for a variety of reasons, Jerusalem is not for everyone––whether it be due to finances, the desire for larger homes or more green space or more intimate communities.
Where do people who want to be in close proximity to Jerusalem but prefer the beauty and space that the suburbs offer, move to? And how have these cities’ real estate markets fared?
Many families end up in Gush Etzion, nestled in the Judean Hills south of Jerusalem, which includes communities such as Efrat, Alon Shvut and Neve Daniel. Another solid option is the Binyamin region in the southern Shomron, situated northwest and east of Jerusalem, whose 46 communities include Beit El and Kochav Yaakov. To the immediate east of Jerusalem is Ma’ale Adumim, a picturesque community that has attracted many people who love the beautiful desert views and weather, and are desirous of a short commute to Jerusalem.
Modi’in and Beit Shemesh are two large cities west of Jerusalem that have become destinations of choice for many Anglo families. Modi’in is a commuter’s dream; it boasts a superior transportation infrastructure and is a half hour’s drive to both the capital and Tel Aviv. Modi’in is currently home to 100,000 residents and is poised to continue expanding.
Beit Shemesh, with almost 120,00 residents, is the country’s fastest growing city. With an influential and powerful new mayor, Dr. Aliza Bloch, who has pledged to unite and accommodate the city’s heterogeneous population, Beit Shemesh is enjoying a renaissance and its residents have discovered a renewed civic pride. In addition to its suburb status—it is a 30-minute drive to Jerusalem and a 45 -minute drive to Tel Aviv—Beit Shemesh, which includes Ramat Beit Shemesh, serves as the medical, retail and academic hub for nearby smaller communities.
Some families who prefer to live in smaller communities but also want to be closer to larger cities have chosen Tzur Hadassah. Located equidistant between Ramat Beit Shemesh and the outskirts of Jerusalem, Tzur Hadassah is a mixed community of religious and secular residents, and its population has mushroomed to 10,000 residents.
Other communities that lean on Beit Shemesh include villages such as Nechusha. Established in 1957, the moshav decided in 2007 to expand from less than 60 families with 275 residents to 300 families and more than 1,500 people. Similarly, Nes Harim is a community in which each family builds its own home through a program called “bnei beitcha,” instead of having a developer build tracts of homes. It has expanded and has seen land values increase from 55,000 NIS per plot in 2007 to 1,250,000 NIS per plot in 2019.
Two decades ago, Israel’s population was as small as 6 million. Now, 20 years later, the country’s population is larger than 9 million, thanks to Israel having the highest birth rate in the developed world, with an average of 3.1 children per woman (the distant runner-up is Mexico at 2.2). The rising population has generated strong housing demand, and prices in most markets have risen since 2000 by more than 100% in real value (adjusted for inflation).
It therefore comes as no surprise that we are often asked, what is the next big “success story” in Israel real estate? In which new community can we get in early, before prices pop?
We are constantly on the prowl for special opportunities and are currently monitoring the progress of several interesting new neighborhoods in the development pipeline. If an opportunity materializes, we will alert the media.