Central and affordable

Prices in Ness Ziona are higher on average than neighboring Rehovot and Rishon Lezion, but they come as a pleasant surprise.

Ness Ziona 521 (photo credit: Courtesy of Anglo-Saxon)
Ness Ziona 521
(photo credit: Courtesy of Anglo-Saxon)
Ness Ziona is one of the many towns that developed from the agricultural colonies established in Ottoman Palestine in the last quarter of the 19th century (others are Petah Tikva and Rishon Lezion). When founded, it was one of a quintet that included Rishon Lezion, Rehovot, Mazkeret Batya and Gedera.
Ness Ziona had exotic beginnings. It owes its existence to a German named Reinhard Reisler, who belonged to the Templers, a Lutheran movement that believed in settling in Palestine.
Reisler was a loner, and instead of settling in one of the Templer colonies, he chose to go it alone. He bought a plot of land in what is now the center of Ness Ziona, called Wadi Hunayn in Arabic, brought his wife and five children and started a farm.
However, his wife and children died of malaria, and he left for what was then part of the Tsarist Empire (today Ukraine). There, he met Reuven Lehrer, a local Jew with Zionist leanings who owned farmland in the vicinity of Odessa.
Reisler, who had had enough of Palestine, and Lehrer, who wanted to go there soon, reached a deal by which Reisler became the proud owner of rich agricultural land in Ukraine in exchange for his parcel of land in Palestine.
This was in 1882; by 1891, another Russian settler, Michael Halperin, had bought additional tracts of land in Wadi Hunayn and gathered a group of people who had come from Europe. Thus was Ness Ziona born.
Up to the War of Independence, Ness Ziona was a moshava – an agricultural village based on free-owning peasants, as opposed the socialist moshavim or communal settlements. In 1948, there were 4,446 inhabitants; by 1951, with the vast influx of immigrants that followed the establishment of the state, there were 9,000.
Today, the overall population is nearly 38,000 – and growing.
It is a relatively small town, but on the real-estate scene, it has some major advantages.
First, there’s the location. Ness Ziona is on the southern coastal plain some 10 km. from the Mediterranean Sea to the south of Tel Aviv. It shares its municipal boundaries with Rishon Lezion to the north, Rehovot to the south and Be’er Ya’acov to the east; the west is still open ground stretching to the Mediterranean. One of the town’s selling points is that it also has easy access to Highway 6.
Residents with scientific and technical training and education can find employment in the area. There is the Weizmann Institute of Science in neighboring Rehovot, a biology institute in Ness Ziona itself, and a large industrial park adjacent to the Weizman Institute but within the Ness Ziona municipal boundary, adapted to the needs of science-oriented industries.
However, there are not many other employment opportunities nearby, and many residents have to commute to the employment centers of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
Ness Ziona is now popular with families living in Tel Aviv and its first ring of satellite cities who want to upgrade their living standards and cannot afford to do so where they are.
Real-estate prices in Tel Aviv are about double those in Ness Ziona.
“In recent years, demand for housing in Ness Ziona has been brisk – and prices have gone up accordingly,” says Shmulik Oron, the Anglo-Saxon concessionaire in Ness Ziona.
“This year, demand has fallen, but this is a nationwide phenomenon because in these times, the demand for real estate is slack all over Israel,” he continues. “But despite the fact that the market is weak, there is demand mainly from middle-class, relatively high-income young families with children, because Ness Ziona has an excellent education system.”
Besides good schools and easy access to the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, the city has a green appeal. The present municipal administration is aware that green is in fashion, and it is endeavoring to keep the city as green and as rural as possible.
In the inner city, the buildings are four and five stories high, while in the more outlying areas, they are eight stories – tall enough for a city that prides itself on its rural character, but far removed from the 30- and 40- story skyscrapers now going up in many of our cities.
Prices in Ness Ziona are currently higher on average than neighboring Rehovot and Rishon Lezion. But for those accustomed to the Tel Aviv real-estate scene, these prices come as a pleasant surprise. A development company called S.Y. Even is building a seven-story, 12-apartment residential building in which the penthouse is being offered for NIS 3 million, while the mini-penthouses are priced at NIS 2.6m. Prices in Tel Aviv would be NIS 6m. for the penthouse and NIS 4.5m. for the mini-penthouses. In Givatayim, a similar penthouse would cost NIS 5m. and a mini-penthouse NIS 3.5m.
Average real estate prices in Ness Ziona are NIS 750,000 for a two-room apartment, NIS 1.35m. for three rooms and NIS 1.75m. for four rooms.