Kosher living in Haifa

Kiryat Shmuel is coming into its own as a well-developed religious suburb.

Mishab project Haifa_521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Mishab project Haifa_521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Kiryat Shmuel is part of the urban complex in the Bay of Haifa known as the Krayot. It consists of five urban entities of which three – Kiryat Motzkin, Kiryat Yam and Kiryat Bialik – are independent municipalities, and two – Kiryat Haim and Kiryat Shmuel – are part of the Haifa municipal area. Distant suburbs though they are, they are still part of Haifa.
Haifa is one of the country’s most secular cities, and the Krayot are not famous for their religious fervor. However, Kiryat Shmuel is different. The majority of its inhabitants are religious, and this is what is making it a popular area for developers.
Located in the Zevulon Valley, it has Kiryat Motzkin to the north, Kiryat Yam to the west and Kiryat Haim to the south.
Kiryat Shmuel is a good example of a communal urban entity adapted to a community with special requirements. It was founded in 1934 by members of Hapoel Hamizrachi in Haifa, a religious movement with very marked socialist overtones. For many years Kiryat Shmuel was something of a backwater. So much so, in fact, that although it was an independent municipal entity when it was founded, in 1952 it was annexed to Haifa. Now it is coming into its own. Many developers have purchased land there and are erecting new projects for a religious clientele because it has a very well-developed religious infrastructure of schools, synagogues, mikvaot, etc.
According to figures published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, nearly 10 percent of the Israeli population regard themselves as haredi, and another 10% as Orthodox. These people need special housing, and they especially need to congregate together in areas that have the appropriate services and institutions. In Kiryat Shmuel, they have it ready made.
Furthermore, residents can enjoy the best of both worlds. They live in the country’s thirdlargest city with all that this entails, such as highly developed municipal services, job opportunities, proximity to the commercial center at the Checkpost junction, and they can enjoy a completely religious environment.
Today, Kiryat Shmuel has nearly 6,000 inhabitants, or approximately 1,750 households. Eli Azulay, the Anglo Saxon Real Estate representative in the Krayot, told Metro, “The real estate scene in Kiryat Shmuel was dormant for a long time, but now it is showing signs of recovery. The religious element of the population has a constant need for housing. Kiryat Shmuel is one of the few urban entities in the north of Israel which, like Bnei Brak or Betar Illit, can be described as religious towns. Consequently, developers are buying up land and building projects that are adapted to the needs of the religious public.”
Tomer Moskovitz, the general manager of the Mishab Construction and Development Company, told Metro, “As the country’s leading development company building for the religious public, we are very much involved in Kiryat Shmuel and building new housing. The project in Kiryat Shmuel is designed for the religious public. The units have extra-large living rooms and kitchens that are suitable for large families. The kitchens have double sinks for meat and dairy dishes. All the units have a succa terrace, Shabbat elevators and a rabbinically authorized system to heat water. Furthermore, the project will include communal space on the ground floor for the needs of the residents.”
There are a number of new projects in the process of construction. Mishab is building a complex of four five-story buildings, totaling 72 apartments. Designed for the needs of religious families, the project includes four- and fiveroom apartments and duplexes.
Mishab is not the only company involved in new construction projects in Kiryat Shmuel. E.F.I. Nativ Development Ltd. has two projects. One of these consists of two-story apartment buildings. On the ground floor are garden apartments, and on the top floor are apartments with an option for an opening to the roof. Peretz Bonei Hanegev is also planning a new construction project in the area.
Prices in Kiryat Shmuel are relatively low by Israeli standards. For real-estate purposes, the township is roughly divided into two parts – those buildings constructed up to the 1960s, which are described as old, and more recent buildings that are described as new.
The average price of an “old” three-room 70- square-meter apartment is NIS 350,000. A fourroom 100-sq.m. apartment costs NIS 500,000 on average.
A “new” four-room apartment of 100 sq.m. goes for an average NIS 650,000, while a fiveroom 120 sq.m. apartment costs NIS 800,000.
New construction costs more. A four-room apartment can cost NIS 900,000, while a fiveroom apartment can go for NIS 1 million.
Prices in Kiryat Shmuel, as well as the rest of the Krayot, are set to rise in the future. The reason for this is the Carmel Tunnel. Before the tunnel was constructed, getting from the Krayot to Haifa proper was a virtual nightmare. At peak hours, it could take more than an hour. Today, when the traffic from the North to the South and Center bypasses Haifa, traffic from the Krayot is practically uncongested. Kiryat Shmuel and its counterparts are now, for all intents and purposes, part of metropolitan Haifa, and this will have a positive effect on demand and an upward effect on prices.

Recent real-estate transactions
• A four-room, 97-square-meter apartment was sold for NIS 876,000. It is located in a three-story apartment building constructed in the late 1960s.
• A renovated five-room, 122-sq.m. apartment in a 20-year-old building was sold for NIS 975,000.
• A three-room, 70-sq.m. apartment in an old building was sold for NIS 385,000.