The wave of Anglo immigration to the Jewish State during the past decade has played a key role in changing the demographic complexities of towns and cities across Israel, as well as improving the bottom lines of more than a few private and public building companies.
In pristine suburbs such as Beit Shemesh and Modiin, the influx of new immigrants has raised the quality of life quotient, as well as local real estate prices. Though exact figures are hard to come by, there are numerous indicators which show that Anglo immigrants have invested a minimum of $300 million dollars into Israel's burgeoning real estate marketplace during the past decade (according to a variety of real estate brokers, most Anglo immigrant families will spend anywhere from $250,000 to $600,000 towards the purchase of a home or apartment). And with an additional 3-4,000 new olim making the move to the Promised Land on an annual basis, local real estate agents and builders will continue to reap the benefits.
According to Nefesh B'Nefesh, most new immigrant couples and families tend to rent apartments during their first year in Israel, as part of getting acclimated to their surroundings. Once couples and families have integrated themselves into Israeli society, the quest for a dream property begins in earnest. The 'quality of life' checklist to determine if a particular town or city suits a new immigrant's needs could include: Job opportunities, reputable education, variety of religious and cultural outlets, easy access transportation, parks, shopping and activities for children.
In cities such as Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and Modiin, living close to friends, family and business colleagues have impacted local real estate markets. Up until late 2010, when the Bank of Israel changed the interest rates and tax rules governing "buyer's groups", a sizeable number of new immigrants had banded together to purchase entire residential complexes!
Which cities continue to offer a variety of real estate opportunities, as well as a high-quality of life quotient to current and potential olim? Here is an abridged list of the Top 10 marketplaces:
Jerusalem - The idea of owning a property in the Holy City continues to lure a select group of singles, couples and families alike. There is nothing like experiencing the history and unique lifetsyle within the city's fascinating neighborhoods. However, a lack of new building projects and skyrocketing rental rates is pushing many young couples and families to more affordable suburban regions in close proximity to Jerusalem.
Beit Shemesh - This city of over 100,000 residents, along with its Haredi satellite, Ramat Beit Shemesh, was the first suburban Jerusalem region to benefit from the initial wave of Anglo immigrants via Nefesh B'Nefesh. The affordable housing, large green parks, quality schools, as well as direct rail and bus service to hi-tech and business centers in nearby Jerusalem (20 minutes) and Tel Aviv (45 minutes) has lured thousands of English-speaking immigrants.
Modiin - Equidistant between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with a direct rail link to Ben-Gurion Airport (15 minutes), Tel Aviv and beyond, the country's fastest growing metropolitan region, has attracted hundreds of Anglo families to the newly constructed Kaiser and Buchman neighborhoods. As a result, prices in Modiin have risen dramatically in recent years. The city of Modiin continues to work closely with the Anglo community in developing more educational options, religious centers and activities for youngsters. During the past few years, Beit Shemesh and Modiin have boasted quality Little League and adult amateur baseball programs.
Rehovot - A massive construction boom is underway within close proximity to the city's various hi-tech zones and the Weizmann Institute. Many of the residential projects are beginning to attract significant interest from established and new immigrant Anglo families. The city, which is located in the heart of the Coastal Plain, highlights an excellent educational, religious and cultural infrastructure. Upgraded bus, rail and highway links can whisk residents to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in less than an hour.
Ramat Gan-Kiryat Ono - A growing Anglo community is starting to put down roots in Ramat Gan's Krinitzy neighborhood, which borders affluent Kiryat Ono. Several large real estate projects are being built to accommodate doctors, nurses and university professors who work at nearby Tel Hashomer-Sheba Hospital and Bar Ilan University.
Zichron Yaacov - During the past three years, a growing number of American olim are flocking to this hilltop town, which overlooks lush green valleys and the inviting Mediterranean coastline because of its unique beauty and laid back suburban lifestyle. With commuter bus service to nearby Haifa (20 minutes) and a rail link to Tel Aviv (55 minutes), many families prefer to work in the big city by day and return to a blissfully quiet environment during the evening hours.
Beersheba - The capital of the Negev has featured a growing Anglo population for nearly two decades. The community is centered around Ben-Gurion University and Soroka Hospital, the largest medical facility in Southern Israel. The city is currently undergoing a transformation, with a variety of attractive residential projects being built alongside new cultural centers and shopping malls.
Petach Tikva - For the second year in a row, this city of over 200,000 people, located less than 20 minutes from downtown Tel Aviv, has had the distinction of boasting the largest number of new residential building projects in the nation. A substantial Anglo community is located in the Kfar Ganim neighborhood, which also highlights quality cultural, educational and religious centers. Petach Tikvah is also home to a growing hi-tech zone, which is anchored by IBM-Israel.
Haifa-Yokneam - There has always been a small but vibrant Anglo community in the attractive port city, especially near the campuses of Haifa University and Rambam Hospital. In nearby Yokneam, this once somnambulant suburb has come alive with a much touted hi-tech zone and major residential construction that is attracting Anglo families.
Tel Aviv - Singles and young couples alike are attracted to Israel's version of the "city that never sleeps" because of its vast number of business and cultural opportunities. However, there are some major drawbacks to living and playing in Tel Aviv, including astronomical apartment rental prices and stifling traffic jams.
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