Neighborhood Watch: A glimpse of Gilo

Prices in the neighborhood are stable, with a slightly upward trend.

Gilo 370 (photo credit: reuters)
Gilo 370
(photo credit: reuters)
After the Six Day War, Israel annexed east Jerusalem and constructed a ring of neighborhoods on the areas it had annexed. To increase the Jewish population of Jerusalem, massive building projects were constructed on the land that was annexed.
One of these areas is Gilo, the southwesternmost neighborhood and the largest, with a population of 40,000. It has a heterogeneous population, a socioeconomic mix. Among its residents are low-income families, as well as a more affluent middle- class; native Israelis, as well as new immigrants, secular and religious, young and old.
Work on Gilo proper started in 1970, and by 1975 the first residents began moving in. However, they were not the first people to live in that area. Archeological excavations reveal habitation dating as far back as 3,000 years, from the Israelite period and continuing during the Roman and Byzantine periods.
From its modern beginnings, Gilo provided housing for new immigrants who flocked to Israel after the Six Day War. The Jewish Agency built a large hostel for them in the neighborhood, and many chose to live in Gilo after they had found jobs and were settling in. Gilo was also an important destination for the waves of immigration from the former Soviet Union, which flooded Israel in the 1990s.
Modern Gilo is divided into six main areas, named after the first six letters of the Hebrew alphabet. As can be expected from such a large expanse, there are areas that are more expensive than others, with substantial price differentials. Topography has an important bearing on price.
Buildings located in the higher parts of Gilo fetch better prices. Jerusalem’s hilly terrain creates opportunities to build apartments with spectacular views; and in Gilo, as anywhere else in the world, a view brings better prices.
At the lower end of the price spectrum, a threeroom apartment in Alef, the haredi part of Gilo, can be purchased for NIS 900,000. This section is a closed area surrounded by a ring road, where haredim can feel secluded and secure.
At the other end of the spectrum, a single-family home on a 500-square meter plot of land costs more than NIS 3 million.
Gilo is not a high-end neighborhood. Most of the buildings were constructed with prefabricated elements, the “industrial building methods,” whereby the facades are clad with thin slabs of Jerusalem stone.
There are three new developments in Gilo. C-Jerusalem offers 121 large apartments in three 10-, 11- and 12-story buildings. The second is Ahuza, a purchaser group project. The third is developer Haim Zaken’s Ahuzat Yaniv.
“We are building 102 apartments in six nine-story buildings.
They include four- and five-room apartments, garden apartments and penthouses of a very high quality,” Zaken, general manager of Haim Zaken Construction and Investment, told In Jerusalem. “Gilo has many attractions for the home buyer.
Because of the new municipal road grid, there is easy access to the city center, and it is much less expensive. Gilo is [also] attracting buyers from a higher socioeconomic level, which are the [ideal] market for Ahuzat Yaniv.”
Ronen Elkaly, owner and manager of Erlino Effective Real Estate Marketing, told In Jerusalem, “The real-estate market in Gilo is very stable, and supply and demand are more or less balanced, which is why prices are stable with a slight upward trend. I would say that the average price for a three-room apartment ranges from NIS 0.9m. to NIS 1.2m. The average price of a four-room apartment is from NIS 1.25m. to NIS 1.35m., while the average new spacious five-room apartment range can cost up to NIS 2m.
“Most of the transactions in Gilo are by locals who want to upgrade their living standard by selling their homes and buying larger, more modern accommodation,” he adds. “When the small three-room apartments come onto the market, they are bought by either second-generation Gilo residents, or newlyweds from other areas of Jerusalem. Prices in the neighborhood as a whole are less expensive than in other parts of the capital.”