Foreigners have bought thousands of properties in Israel over the recent years. The main demand comes from North America, UK and France. While only 4% of property deals are made with foreign investors, their acquisitions cost millions of dollars and play a pivotal role in the property development market.
Penthouses and apartments overlooking the sea
Many foreigners own property in Jerusalem but only few of them live in the Holy City permanently because of the religious tensions and traffic.
Demand for apartments in Beersheba, Southern Israel, is driven by low prices ($150,000–300,000) and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev that attracts students from all over the world.
Israel is an important destination for religious tourism. Orthodox Jews from the USA, Europe and South America buy homes in Jerusalem and generally make up a major part of prime property buyers, so developers have to cater to their needs. For instance, it is forbidden to use work or use mechanical devices on Shabbat. As Shabbat starts on Friday night, all the elevators in the buildings are switched to Shabbat mode, stopping automatically at every floor. There are ritual washing basins in public catering facilities and balconies can be transformed into temporary huts (sukkah) during the Sukkot.
Apartments near the walls of the Old City and synagogues are especially popular. Most Jewish visitors come to Israel for religious celebrations, so their property either stays vacant or is leased for the rest of the time.
Islam also has sacred sites in Jerusalem and nearly all of them are in the area of the Temple Mount. Muslims tend to choose property near one of the city’s 70 mosques.
Christians also visit Jerusalem and Nazareth, revered as the place where the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to Jesus. Pilgrims usually rent villas or stay at the hotels here.
Property in Israel, $/sq.m