Any good deals left?

Following a year in which housing prices skyrocketed by nearly 22 percent, potential homeowners might be a little reluctant to jump into the market. But according to one leading real-estate expert, deals are still ripe for the taking – if you know where to look.
“Nahariya is a gem in the North,” says Bernard Raskin, Israel manager for Re/Max, one of the largest real-estate agencies in the country. “It’s beautiful, very nice, and the prices are still very reasonable there. Nice quality of life, right on the beach and a good population.”
Further south, but still in Galilee, in Safed – where prices are still relatively cheap – a new massive medical facility is being planned. As a result, Raskin predicts that now is the best time to get in on the action.
Elsewhere in the North, Raskin says that Karmiel boasts very attractive options with minimal cost. And for those looking for a more rural location, he points to Migdal Ha’emek.
“It’s a small town, and we’re doing a lot of business there,” says Raskin.
For those interested in warmer climates, Raskin suggests Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beersheba.
“Ashdod and Ashkelon in the South are very popular. They’re big cities which have been discovered by both the Russians and the French,” he says, noting that Ashkelon specifically is also becoming a favorite for the English.
“The prices are still reasonable there, the beaches are beautiful,” Raskin explains. “And although prices have gone up, it’s still much cheaper than Netanya. Ashkelon is becoming the next Netanya.”
But even more attractive for buyers than Ashkelon is Beersheba. “Beersheba is very hot now for real estate,” he says. “We do more deals in Beersheba than any other city in the country. It’s our largest office in the country.”
However, not everybody is up for a move to the North or South. And while prices in the center of the country may be a little discouraging, those fixated on the area – due either to employment or preference – need not despair.
“Kiryat Hasharon in Netanya,” Raskin says. “A new neighborhood which is very, very nice, and which is more reasonable.” Or more to the north, the entire city of Hadera, which is becoming so attractive for investors that the Re/Max office there now employs nearly as many agents as in Beersheba.
In general, Raskin advises potential buyers to keep an eye on developing infrastructure, both on a national and a metropolitan level.
“If you look at Route 6, because it makes certain areas more accessible, towns like Pardess Hanna and Gedera become more valuable,” he says. “People are going to live there because it’s not as big a schlep as it used to be.”
Likewise, although prices in Jerusalem are comparatively high, lessexpensive neighborhoods in the city – such as Pisgat Ze’ev – might beworth the investment due to the light rail. “With the light rail, thecommute from the center of the town to Pisgat Ze’ev will only be 10minutes,” he notes.
For those who are not necessarily looking for a new home but rather anew investment, Raskin offers one more tip. “If it’s just about theinvestment, and not about the living, then Kiryat Yam,” he says. “It’slike a run-down slum, and it’s known for its criminals. But it’s righton the water.”