A resurgence of popularity

Karkur has retained its rural character, housing there is affordable and its proximity to a railway station and to the trans-Israel highway makes it attractive to young professionals.

Karkur_521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The history of Karkur goes back nearly a century. It is actually part of the municipality of Pardess Hanna- Karkur, both of them moshavim established by Zionist organizations and merged into a single urban entity in 1969.
This article will deal only with the real-estate scene in the original area of Karkur.
In 1913, 15 square kilometers of land were purchased by the Hachsharat Hayishuv society from landowner residents of the towns of Jenin and Haifa, who were paid the sum of 400,000 French francs, today about $2 million.
Two years later, the land was sold to a consortium, which promised to settle the land and make productive use of it. The consortium consisted of a private investor from Odessa by the name of Yitzhak Shlesinger, a Zionist organization called the Odessa Committee, and the first London Ahuza Society.
Eventually the moshav of Gan Hashomron, Kibbutz Ein Shemer and Karkur were established on this land – but not without further setbacks.
First came the Bolshevik Revolution, which confiscated the property of the bourgeois Shlesinger. This formerly rich subject of the Russian tsar became a poor citizen of the USSR.
He could not meet the financial commitment required to develop the land, and was declared bankrupt, his holdings sold to the Jewish National Fund.
The London Ahuza Society tried to settle British Jews in the area, but the results were very meager: A mere handful agreed to leave the fleshpots of London for the uncertainties of life in a rural backwater of the Ottoman Empire.
The result of this failure was Karkur – the JNF and the London Ahuza Society deciding jointly to finance the establishment of an agricultural settlement.
Some years elapsed between the purchase of the land and its settlement. In the meantime, the proprietors had to find ways to circumvent an Ottoman law that allowed the authorities to confiscate land that had lain fallow for three years or more. The solution is evident to this day: a grove of eucalyptus trees.
Modern Karkur has not lost its rural character, one of the reasons for its renewed popularity. It is far enough from the main transport arteries to retain its charm, yet near enough to the railway station in Binyamina and to Caesarea’s industrial park, a mere 10 and seven kilometers away, respectively; as well as to major highways.
Today Karkur proper is inhabited by approximately 18,000 people. Derech Habanim is the hypothetical dividing line between Karkur and Pardess Hanna, and the statue in that street commissioned to commemorate the fusion of the two settlements is the exact dividing point. To the east of this line and point is Karkur; to the west, Pardess Hanna.
Nitzan Pnini, manager-proprietor of the Remax real estate agency in Pardess Hanna-Karkur, told Metro: “The real-estate market in Karkur is flourishing.
A large number of projects are in the building or planning process, and sales are brisk. Land prices are not high, and in consequence, the price of new housing is inexpensive.
Which is the reason why we are getting an influx of young professionals.
“Housing is affordable, and proximity to a railway station and to Route 6, the trans-Israel highway, makes it relatively easy to get to the employment centers of Haifa, Tel Aviv, Netanya and Herzliya.”
Real estate in the area can generally be divided into four categories: the old farmsteads built before 1948; apartment buildings built in the ’50s and early ‘60s for new immigrants; the semidetached dwellings built from the second half of the ’80s to the first half of the first decade of this century; and new developments of both apartment buildings and semidetached housing.
What are the prices in these categories? Take the new development of Shikun Uvinui’s Halomot Karkur at the northwest corner of Karkur, a mere three minutes’ drive from Route 6.
The development, when completed, will have 480 dwellings of four, four-and-a-half- and five-room apartments, including penthouses. A five-room, 125-sq.m. apartment in the estate sold for NIS 1.35 million, while a 156-sq.m. penthouse sold for NIS 1.6m.
The Peretz Luzon development company has a new project called Pninei Karkur, designed by the renowned architect Ilan Pivko. He has designed semidetached, airy dwellings with plenty of light, with an emphasis on clean lines.
The project consists of 90 semidetached dwellings of 150 sq.m., on average, with an additional three single-family homes on 250-sq.m. plots. Prices for the semidetached dwellings are from NIS 1.8m. up; NIS 2.2m. for the single-family homes.
Prices for similar semidetached homes built 15 or 20 years ago are from NIS 1.6m. to NIS 1.7m.
Prices of apartments in the old buildings of the ’50s and early ’60s are much lower, a three-room apartment going for as little as NIS 400,000.
Prices of the really old farmsteads are another matter. They are not so easy to come by, but a 4,000-sq.m. plot with an old farmhouse can cost as much as NIS 4m. There are farmsteads of 5,000-, 2,000- and 1,500-sq.m. plots. Their price, on average, is NIS 1m. per 1,000 square metres.
Sometimes, for 1,500 to 2,000 sq.m., the buyers build elegant homes with spacious grounds; but in most cases, the plot is subdivided to build semidetached dwellings, or single-family homes.