With an abundance of green space and real estate prices that are still
reasonable, Hod Hasharon is very much in demand.
By JOHN BEZAQUEN
Ask anyone to describe Hod Hasharon, and you’ll likely hear that it’s “a dormitory town north of Tel Aviv.” But this “satellite” is acquiring a life of its own. Most residents work in the surrounding areas – in the financial center of Tel Aviv, the surrounding hitech industrial parks, etc. – and they have been doing their shopping and seeking their entertainment outside Hod Hasharon’s municipal boundaries.This is changing. Mayor Chai Adiv is aiming to develop and enlarge the currently existing small hi-tech industrial park, as well as a vibrant local commercial and entertainment center.And something that makes Hod Hasharon very attractive is its abundance of green areas at a time when green is very much in fashion.In the not so distant past, Hod Hasharon was something of a backwater with real estate prices relatively low. This is also changing; today, housing there is in demand – largely because the hefty price rises in Tel Aviv are beyond the reach of many. As a consequence, young couples are willing to endure what they believe to be the discomforts of living far from the fleshpots, and offices, of Tel Aviv.With good reason. An average 100- to 120-squaremeter apartment in Tel Aviv’s middle-class areas can cost over $550,000, compared to $380,000 in Hod Hasharon. Its relatively cheap prices have made the demand for accommodation brisk.At the end of the day, it is money considerations, and not the attractions of the big city, that prevail. (If, by some miracle, prices in Tel Aviv were to fall to the level of those in Hod Hasharon, or slightly above, it is doubtful whether demand in the latter would continue at its present levels.) That said, people may move to Hod Hasharon in future not because the prices there are cheaper, but because of the high quality of life in the city.And Mayor Adiv is sure this will happen soon, because “we have one of the best educational systems in the country, we are enlarging the hi-tech industrial parks – so as to be able to create well-paid jobs – and we are also the greenest city in Israel.”Demand for housing in Hod Hasharon took off some three years ago, and in consequence, the price for residential real estate has gone up by some 25-30 percent.Dror Limor, the Remax franchisee in Hod Hasharon, told The Jerusalem Post: “The price of an average 100 sq.m. apartment in Hod Hasharon is approximately NIS 1.5 million, compared to NIS 2.2 million in Tel Aviv, while in neighboring Ra’anana and Kfar Saba, the prices are 1.7 million and NIS 1.4 million, respectively.Limor believes prices will continue to rise moderately during the next 12 months.Erez Cohen, chairman of the Real Estate Appraisals Association in Israel, is more optimistic. He believes prices are set to rise by 10 to 15 percent by mid-2011.While demand is strong, those moving into Hod Hasharon want a higher quality of residence, occupying a larger area, than what they have hitherto been accustomed to.According to Shlomi Hasson, general manager of the Prizat Hasson real estate company, which builds extensively in Hod Hasharon, “We have adapted our new projects to the wishes of the market. We know that those moving to a new city and a new environment want something better. We make it a point to build big. Even our three-room apartments are over 110 sq.m., on average. A four-room apartment of 130- 140 sq.m. is common on our projects.“The same holds true for penthouses and garden apartments. Clients are demanding large open spaces – terraces or roofs, and large gardens. And so 100 sq.m. of terrace or 200 sq.m. of garden are not uncommon in our building projects.”
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