Beersheba, the regional capital of the Negev, is undergoing changes that will have a dramatic effect on the city’s real estate market.The government has decided to convert the city into a cyber-security center, the army is transferring most of its hi-tech units to a site nearby, and the city’s Ben-Gurion University is expanding rapidly. This means that a city that until now was not especially famous for the education and income levels of its residents is looking at an influx of highly educated, highly paid individuals, many of whom will want to live there.Developers will try to offer them quality housing; that is what these people expect, and they have the means to pay.Consequently housing stocks are expected to rise, and the amount of quality housing as a percentage of the city’s total housing is set to rise greatly.This northern Negev desert town’s name translates to “Seven Wells” in English; it was named after seven wells that were bored there in ancient times. Biblically it is linked to the Patriarch Abraham, who dug a well, planted a tamarisk tree and tended his flock of sheep or goats in the area.At the beginning of the 19th century, Europeans who visited the area portrayed Beersheba as a barren stretch of land with a well and a few Beduin living nearby.Toward the end of the century, the Ottoman Turks, who had ruled Palestine since the 16th century, built a police station to control the Beduin tribes of the region. They built roads and a number of small buildings from local materials, which are still standing today in the Old City area. Swiss and German architects who designed the town for the Turks patterned it as a grid, which is still evident in the Old City. In an international context, Beersheba is famous for the World War I battle that bears its name. The city played a significant role in that war’s Sinai-Palestine Campaign. On October 31, 1917, troops under Gen. Edmund Allenby breached the Turkish defense line between Gaza and Beersheba, and 800 soldiers from the 4th and 12th regiments of Australia’s 4th Light Horse Brigade made a bayonet cavalry charge and overran the Turkish trenches.There is a Commonwealth cemetery for Australian and British soldiers, as well as a memorial park dedicated to the 4th Light Horse Brigade.The town as we know it today had its beginnings in 1948, when the Israel Defense Forces captured it, and all of its approximately 4,000 inhabitants were deported to Egypt.Beersheba has grown considerably since then. A large portion of the population consists of immigrants from Arab countries – mainly Morocco – who came to Israel during the ’50s and ’60s. During the ’90s, immigrants from the former USSR and Ethiopia boosted the population.With the influx of Russian immigrants, chess became a major sport in Beersheba; the city is now the country’s chess center, home to more chess grandmasters than any other city in the world.BEERSHEBA’S POPULATION makeup started to change in 1969, when Ben- Gurion University of the Negev was founded. It began to attract professionals and middle-class families, and the housing standards of the town changed accordingly. Now, with the expected transfer of hi-tech personnel from the Center of the country to the Beersheba vicinity, it is changing again.Itzik Duev, the Beersheba concessionary of the Anglo-Saxon real-estate brokerage, tells Metro that the city has been “converted into a science-oriented center, and this is having a big impact on the real-estate scene. Even if only a small percentage of those working in hi-tech, whether military or civilian, decide to relocate to Beersheba, this still means that demand for quality housing will rise substantially.Many developers are undertaking new real estate projects, especially in the Ramot neighborhood, and prices are rising.” In 2013, he says, real-estate prices in Ramot rose by from 8 percent to 12%. “Currently an average four-room, 115-square-meter apartment sells for NIS 980,000 to NIS 1 million. Similar apartments in some of the other middleclass neighborhoods in the town sell for NIS 800,000 to NIS 850,000.”One of the developers with new projects is Y.H. Dimri Building & Development Ltd.The company’s marketing manager, Amos Dubash, expresses enthusiasm about the city.“We are very upbeat about Beersheba, and we believe it has great potential,” he says. “We thought that 10 years ago, and I am happy to say that we have been vindicated. Beersheba has become an important hi-tech center, and it has had a dramatic influence on the city’s real estate.We have built various real estate projects in the past, such as the Sokolov Tower; we are now starting a new project called Dimri Mercaz Ha’ir, a residential tower in the center of town; and we will soon begin a new project in the trendy Ramot neighborhood. Beersheba is developing fast, and we are happy to be part of this development.”Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich is also upbeat about his city.“The city is at the threshold of a historic development process which will influence the whole country,” he says. “We are fast becoming a global center of learning. A university, a university hospital, an ultramodern hi-tech industrial park – all these are changing the face of the city. We are the first city in Israel to have formulated a long-term strategic plan that will create endless opportunities in education, employment, business, housing, culture and entertainment.”email@example.com RECENT TRANSACTIONS • A five-room duplex apartment in Ramot measuring 160 square meters, plus two terraces – one measuring 80 sq.m. and the other 15 sq.m. – sold for NIS 980,000. The property is on the second and third floors and has no private parking or elevator.• In the Bet quarter, a four-room, 110-sq.m. garden apartment with 40 sq.m. of garden sold for NIS 840,000.The property has no private parking.• In the Heh quarter, a 3.5-room, 75- sq.m. apartment on the third floor of a four-story building with no parking or elevator sold for NIS 520,000.• In the Neveh Ze’ev quarter, a 3.5-room, 97-sq.m. apartment with a large terrace sold for NIS 815,000. It is on the second floor of a five-story building that has an elevator and private parking.• In the Gimmel quarter, a fourroom, 90-sq.m. apartment on the third floor of a three-story building sold for NIS 490,000 .The property has no private parking and no elevator.