Yavne is one of the fastest growing cities in what is called the southern coastal strip. This week’s watch will not be on Yavne as a whole but on its newest neighborhood, which is called Yavne Hayeruka, which means Green Yavne.The ancient city of Yavne is today a modern city of 35,000 inhabitants, with plans to expand it to 90,000.Yavne Mayor Zvi Gov-Ari told Metro that “Yavne has many advantages for its residents. We offer a very elevated quality of life with an excellent educational system. We have a hi-tech technological park as well as conventional industries, which means that there are employment opportunities in the town itself. But in addition, those who find or already have employment in the Tel Aviv area will find it very easy to get there and back. The road link to Tel Aviv is excellent, the railway line to Ashkelon passes through Yavne and in the future the light railway planned for the Tel Aviv metropolitan area will reach Yavne.”But in the eyes of Gov-Ari, the most exciting thing happening in Yavne is Yavne Hayeruka.“It is the first truly ‘green’ neighborhood in Israel. And it is the first of many in our city. Today we have just over 9,000 households. By 2025 we will have 15,000 more and they will all be built in green neighborhoods.”But what exactly is “Green Yavne”? The current rate of development in Yavne is the most intensive in its history. Demand for real estate there is strong, even in these difficult times.Consequently developers are willing to pay the stiff prices for building land because they are confident they will be able to sell. The municipality is also taking advantage of the strong demand for real estate and is issuing building permits only for “green” construction, as defined by standard 5281 of the Israel Standards Institution.According to this standard, developers must ensure that every building is approved during the planning stage by the standards institute. The outer walls of the buildings must be made of special insulating materials, thereby saving energy by using less air-conditioning in summer and less heating in winter. The buildings must also be designed so that the windows make maximum use of light, wind, etc.The municipality is also doing its bit: half the neighborhood will be physically green, consisting of gardens and parks. Furthermore, the collection of garbage will be automated; garbage will be sorted into plastics, paper, perishable organics such as foods, and solids, and automatically conveyed to a collection center to eliminate the need for heavy garbage vehicles in the neighborhood. Every building project will have to make space available for recycling purposes.Green Yavne is still in the process of construction, and the first residents will be moving in in late March. The neighborhood is on the southwestern periphery of town and it covers 275 acres. When completed, it will have approximately 6,000 new dwellings.The first phase, phase “A,” will have 2,900 apartments. Many of the apartments have already been sold.There will be residential tower blocks of up to 25 floors, as well as residential towers of 12 and 18 stories.In addition there will be six- and eight-floor apartment buildings as well as semi-detached residences with their own patch of garden. The neighborhood is adapted to a wide range of potential residents.Apartments will range from four to seven rooms, 15 percent of which will have a floor area of 85 sq.m. Fifty-five percent will have a floor area of up to 120 sq.m. and the remaining 30% up to 140 sq.m. Many of the buildings are terraced and this gives the area a lighter, less crowded air.Yavne seems to be immune to the current real-estate freeze affecting the rest of the country. Figures published by the Central Bureau of Statistics show that during 2011 sales of new apartments rose to 845 units, compared to 346 in 2010, a rise of 144%.Sales increased by 113.6% in 2010.“Demand for real estate in Yavne is part of the current outward trend in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area,” says Liat Danino, the CEO of the Ambassador real estate marketing company. “Prices in Tel Aviv proper are very expensive. Many have been outpriced.... In consequence they are moving to more outlying areas such as Yavne, where prices can be much lower than in Tel Aviv. In some categories prices can be half of what one would be expected to pay for similar accommodation in Tel Aviv. This large price differential is also creating another trend. Families are selling their apartments in Tel Aviv and with the proceeds buying much larger apartments in Yavne.”The average price range for fourroom apartments is NIS 1.2 million, NIS 1.4m. for a five-room apartment and NIS 2.8m. for a penthouse.