Satellite with a difference

Most Givatayim inhabitants are well-to-do – and this is reflected in the price of apartments there.

givatayim 521 (photo credit: courtesy)
givatayim 521
(photo credit: courtesy)
Givatayim is a satellite town of Tel Aviv, radiating toward the metropolitan center as regards employment, commercial services, etc., just like Bat Yam, Holon and Ramat Gan do.
But Givatayim is slightly different because the population in these other areas is, generally speaking, on a lower socioeconomic level than what is generally associated with Tel Aviv – namely, the areas roughly north of Rehov Bograshov, which are inhabited by affluent, middle-class families.
In contrast to other Israeli cities – and this includes Tel Aviv as a whole – Givatayim is purely middle-class, with the vast majority of its inhabitants well-to-do. This is one of the reasons why the average price of real estate in Givatayim is the highest in any city in Israel.
True, prices in parts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are higher – as they are in certain urban entities such as Savyon, Kfar Shmaryahu and Omer – but, as a city, Givatayim is No. 1.
The reason is simple: The city is much in demand as a residential address, and demand is outstripping supply because all the reserves of building were exhausted long ago. The only new construction is that built on land which has been made available by tearing down oldbuildings; and there is not much going up.
Givatayim is probably the most bourgeois city in Israel – ironic, because there was a time when it was the most proletarian.
The city started life in the Borochov neighborhood in 1922. The area was designated as a place of residence for the Jewish proletariat of the time, workers organized in the Histadrut Labor Federation.
As time passed, more dwellings were built in the area, encouraged by the Histadrut. In 1931, for example, an area on one of the hills of Givatayim was designated as the abode for railway workers. More dwellings were progressively built in other areas of what is now Givatayim.
For many years, the area was considered a stronghold first of Mapai, the forerunner of the Labor Party, which held power from the early Thirties to the mid-Seventies; and then of the Labor Party.
No longer. Labor has lost power in Givatayim, as it has in most parts of Israel. Current mayor Reuven Ben- Shahar is a member of Kadima.
In conversation with Metro, the mayor explained that the aim of his administration “is to constantly upgrade both the physical and cultural infrastructure of the city streets and roads, the sewage system, and so on. It is also making great efforts to prevent the construction of highrise residential tower blocks.
“In the interest of maintaining a certain building standard, we have a bylaw which prevents developers from building apartments smaller than 70 square meters,” Ben-Shahar says. “Until recently it was 75 sq.m., but we decided this was a bit too much.”
YORAM POMERANZ, chairman of Green Givatayim, which gained two seats in the municipal council and is in opposition to the current administration, believes that restricting the size of the apartments was a mistake.
“Givatayim has a very high proportion of old people,” he notes. “I believe that something like 22-25 percent of the population are over 65. The best way to reverse this trend is by allowing developers to build a certain number of small, studio-like apartments that will attract young people.”
Real-estate prices in Givatayim are high – too high, as a matter of fact, and expert opinion holds that prices in the foreseeable future will remain steady.
Haim Nhoom, a real-estate broker with the Anglo Saxon Givatayim Real Estate brokerage company,believes the reason prices will remain steady is “because potential buyers will not be able to afford a further rise in prices, which, for certain categories, have more thandoubled over the past four years.”
Nhoom explained further that “there is a certain ambiguity in the real-estate scene in Givatayim. Demand is brisk, supply less so – but prices will remain constant in most categories.
“This does not include expensive real estate of over NIS 4 million,” he stresses. “Demand for these categories is weakening, and there I do expect a drop in prices.”
When analyzing the prize of real estate in Givatayim, one should take the historical context
into consideration. Givatayim was originally built as a kind of rural suburb of Tel Aviv comprising one-story, single-family homes with little thought for parking facilities. In the
Fifties, some two-story apartment blocks were built, but these too lacked parking.
In consequence, there is an acute lack of parking space in the city, and this is reflected in the price of its apartments.
Apartments with parking fetch over 10% more than apartments without. In contrast, the price differential between new and secondhand apartments is relatively small.
Two-room, secondhand apartments can cost from NIS 1.05m. to NIS 1.2m.; three-room apartments cost from NIS 1.6m. to NIS 1.7m.; while four-room apartments cost from NIS 2m. to 2.5m. Penthouses can sell for from NIS 3.5m. to NIS 5m., depending on their location.