There are very few places in Israel where one can wake up to the sound of the sea. Ir Yamim in southwest Netanya is one of them.It is located at the water’s edge, and those fortunate enough to live on the most western street of the neighborhood, Rehov Ehud Manor, can literally wake up to the sound of the surf. The apartments on Ehud Manor facing the sea have unobstructed views of the Mediterranean. One of the newest neighborhoods in Netanya, Ir Yamim is, in some respects, the jewel in the city’s crown.Miriam Fierberg-Ikar, the mayor of Netanya, told Metro, “ I consider Ir Yamim one of the leading neighborhoods in the city. It has an excellent location – the azure Mediterranean Sea to the west, the nature reserves of Iris and Poleg to the south and north and, to the east, the winter lake, an expanse of water that fills up in winter. In my opinion, the location is unparalleled in Israel. Just imagine a whole neighborhood in the center of the densely populated areas of Central Israel surrounded by nature.” The location is indeed excellent, and since in real estate location is everything, property in Ir Yamim has excellent prospects. Furthermore, the new neighborhood will be connected by a network of roads to the Poleg Interchange, which means easy access to the national highway system, with convenient connections to Tel Aviv and Haifa. Residents of Ir Yamim can work in most of the country’s hi-tech, commercial and financial industries, as they are all within easy reach.Construction work in Ir Yamim started in 2004, and the first residents took occupancy in 2008.The area is only partially finished. There are 1,500 residential units. The master plan has 4,000 units. At present, there are 5,500 residents. When completed, it will have 14,000.Shosh Arar, the Anglo Saxon Real Estate representative in Netanya, told Metro, “Ir Yamim is an ultramodern neighborhood of high-rise buildings. It covers an area of over 1,100 dunams [approximately 260 acres]. Some 14,000 people packed into such a relatively small area may seem like a lot, but since all the developments are buildings of over 20 stories, there is a lot of open space, a lot of green space. It is, by all accounts, a very pleasant place to live.”That may be so in the future, but right now it looks more like a building site, with dozens of high-rise building projects in the process of construction.Among the new building projects is the two-tower 20-story TOP project, which will contain 114 apartments.The YH Dimri construction and development company is building two high-rise building projects.One is called Dimri al Hayam, a 23-story residential complex built on the seashore. Consequently, all 115 apartments will have sea views.The second Dimri project is called Dimri Shmurat Hayam. Located adjacent to the Iris nature reserve, the three 21-story residential towers will house 215 apartments.The whole neighborhood is scheduled to be completed by 2015. In addition to more than 4,000 dwellings, it will also have 34,000 square meters of commercial space and six large hotels with a total of 3,150 rooms.When completed, Ir Yamim will have spacious apartments, a large commercial and entertainment center that will cater to its residents and the tourists who will fill the hotel rooms, and two kilometers of beach. The municipality has placed a strong emphasis on the quality of life in the area, so the entire neighborhood will be dotted with small parks and bisected by a large central park. It will have special cycling lanes and underground pedestrian walkways.In Ir Yamim, only large apartments have been authorized. It is the policy of the municipality to authorize the building of large apartments only. This policy assures that the population will be of a high socioeconomic level. The reason behind this policy is simple. Municipal taxes are levied according to the size of the apartment. The larger the apartment, the higher the tax rates. Therefore, the apartments have four to five rooms and measure an average of 120 sq.m.Furthermore, large apartments ensure that the municipality will not have to allocate funds to assist the needy, since people who live in expensive apartments are rarely in need of financial aid.Prices in Ir Yamim are high compared to other areas in Netanya, but compared to other areas near the sea in Tel Aviv or Bat Yam, prices are moderate. Prices vary according to floor level and sea views. Apartments on the higher stories with sea views command premium prices.Although residents moved into the neighborhood in 2008, there is already a second-hand market. Since the apartments offered for sale are relatively new, the price differential between “used” and new is minimal. The average price for a second-hand four-room apartment is NIS 2.2 million if it has a sea view and is high up in the building, and NIS 1.8m. for an apartment on a low floor without a sea view. New four-room apartments on a relatively low floor are offered at NIS 1.98m.Prices in Ir Yamim have doubled in the past five years, but it is doubtful whether they will continue to rise at that rate. The government and the Bank of Israel are making new regulations meant to bring a halt to rising prices. If they succeed, it will affect prices in Ir Yamim.+++Recent real estate transactions• A five-room, 125-square meter apartment with an additional 12 sq.m. terrace was sold for NIS 1.95 million.The apartment is on the fifth floor of a 14-story apartment with a communal pool on Rehov Beni Berman.• A five-room, 130-sq.m. apartment with an 18 sq.m. terrace was sold for NIS 2.05m. The apartment, with partial sea views, is located on the 18th floor of a 22-story building on Rehov Dudu Dotan.• A five-room, 130-sq.m. seafront apartment on Rehov Ehud Manor was sold for NIS 2.29m. The apartment is on the fifth floor of a 22-story apartment with unobstructed sea views and a large terrace.• A five-room, 120-sq.m. apartment also on Ehud Manor was sold for NIS 2.32m. It has a large terrace and unobstructed sea views. The higher price is explained by the fact that it is on the ninth floor.• A four-room terraced apartment on Rehov Ehud Manor,125 sq.m.exclusive of the terrace and on the fourth floor of a 22-story building, was sold for NIS 2.1m.