The times they are a-changing

The area around the Montefiore Windmill, once home to the poor, is now prime real estate.

Montefiore Windmill (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Montefiore Windmill
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Present-day Yemin Moshe is a far cry from what it was back in 1860, when it was the first neighborhood built outside the Old City walls. Then, it was a group of 28 small apartments alongside three communal buildings; today, the area boasts beautiful villas alongside smaller properties, surrounded by cobbled alleyways and staircases, and intertwined with well-maintained gardens and water fixtures.
The historic architecture of the neighborhood’s homes is maintained through strict building codes, which require permits and architectural authorization for any building or renovation done.
However, while the neighborhood retains its historical character, things are changing.
The main feature of Yemin Moshe, the Montefiore Windmill, has recently undergone a full renovation and continues to draw both foreign and local tourists who want to see an important part of Jerusalem’s history.
On a less obvious level, the makeup of the neighborhood has been slowly undergoing a transition. While in the past there were largely families living there, Yemin Moshe has increasingly become a popular area for artists and musicians, who seem to draw inspiration from the commanding views of the Old City and its surroundings. In addition, the area has a number of foreign owners who bought properties primarily as vacation homes, as well as investors who saw the proximity to the Old City as promising.
According to Raphi Bloch of RE/MAX Vision in Jerusalem, “Buyers in Yemin Moshe are a unique and eclectic group. They are looking for something extraordinary. They are buying a piece of history and are willing to pay the high price to get it.
Although we work with buyers from all over the world, we find that the buyers for Yemin Moshe are truly a niche market who appreciate the spiritual and historical beauty of this unique neighborhood.”
Prices in the neighborhood can range from NIS 32,000 per square meter for a property needing renovation to as high as NIS 50,000 or NIS 60,000 per sq.m., depending on the view and the level of renovations done.
There are very few sales in Yemin Moshe, since there are only 100 properties in the entire neighborhood. The only sale in the last year took place in February: a five-room cottage measuring 167 sq.m., with balconies and a view of the Old City. It sold for NIS 5.35 million (approximately NIS 32,000 per sq.m.).