Foreigner's guide to property market: Perfectly peripheral

While Tel Aviv and Netanya may be obvious choices for investment, Hadera and Acre are two coastal cities that offer cheaper, more inviting alternatives.

Hadera 311 (photo credit: Leon Stern/Buy Property In Israel)
Hadera 311
(photo credit: Leon Stern/Buy Property In Israel)
Lyle Plocher is the Director of Buy Property In Israel and can be reached by email at [email protected]
For those olim deciding where to live in Israel or for those individuals just looking for an opportunity to invest in an area that has upside potential, perhaps a few of Israel’s coastal cities in the North, a bit out of the limelight, bear investigation. 
Not everyone who loves living by the sea prefers the big city lights and all of the hustle and bustle that go with it. For those who prefer a slightly slower pace and less people, here are at least two communities that don’t get much publicity, but have definite long term investment potential and improving “quality of life” environments.
The city of Hadera, which is just a few minutes north of Netanya is one example of a city “on the rise”.  Hadera’s Mayor, Haim Avitan, has orchestrated the formation of an aggressive Master Plan which would see the current population of 90,000 double by the year 2020.  The Mayor pointed out earlier this year that the geographical size of Hadera is actually larger than Tel Aviv. The plans for future development include building thousands of housing units along the beach, in Givat Olga and in new neighborhoods, as well as hotels and a boardwalk. In a survey taken recently by the accounting firm Deloitte Brightman Almagor Zohar, 33 percent of the senior Real Estate Agents in Israel thought that Hadera was the best place to invest in residential real estate in the coming year. 
Thanks to great train service along Israel’s coastline, someone living in Hadera could very easily work in Tel Aviv with the commute time from Hadera to the train station next to the Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv, being only 37 minutes.
Acre is another coastal city in the north of Israel which has caught the eye of commercial real estate developers in Israel. Situated just north of Haifa, Acre has a similar story to Hadera in that the incumbent Mayor took over a city from a previous administration that lacked vision. In Acre Mayor Shimon Lankri’s case, he took over a city that was only collecting property taxes from less than 50% of its residents. The Mayor has been on the job for nearly 8 years and in 2010, the city had a budget surplus. According to Mayor Lankri, real estate developers became attracted to Acre after a tremendous amount of infrastructure was put in place, namely bridges, overpasses, new roads, infrastructure for both new neighborhoods as well as existing ones, at an investment of NIS 500 million. Recent commercial development has included new malls, a European standard, 5,000 seat municipal football stadium and a few hotels.
According to the Mayor, 42 factories have come to Acre in the last few years and at the beginning of 2011, the unemployment rate had dropped from a high of 17% seven years ago to 7.8%. In 2011, the plan was to offer land for building 1000 apartments and future plans by the Coastal Environment Protection Committee were being discussed to develop the southern beaches of Acre with a marina, 1,500 apartments and 1,000 hotel rooms. In early 2011, the population of Acre was approximately 55,000.
For assistance with property purchases in Israel, contact Lyle Plocher at [email protected]
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