Modi’in: Judean midway

Modi’in is popular with Anglos for cultural and geographic reasons - the large number of English speakers generates a cultural gravitational pull.

Modi’in. (photo credit: JORGE NOVOMINSKI)
(photo credit: JORGE NOVOMINSKI)
Modi’in-Reut is located midway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, in the territory of biblical Judea.
Modi’in-Reut has special importance for an English-language periodical because it is a preferred location for English speakers. When Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011, British expatriates held a street party in the Shevatim neighborhood of Modi’in, and they did so again a year later on the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, demonstrating the strong concentration of Anglos and the retention of their cultural identity.
Modi’in is popular with Anglos for cultural and geographic reasons. The large number of English speakers generates a cultural gravitational pull.
Also important is the geographical location.
Midway between the economic and political capitals/centers of the state, it allows residents to work in either of these two places, and has excellent road and rail connections to the whole country.
Moreover, it is surrounded by a significant number of industrial parks, logistics and hi-tech centers. The bustling area around the nearby international airport has become one of Israel’s busiest employment complexes.
Modi’in is much in demand not only by Anglos, but also by the general public, including “price refugees” from the high real-estate prices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Founded in 1994 as a valve to absorb the excess populations of the two metropolises, Modi’in is the youngest town in Israel, with the exception of Harish, which is still in the building stage.
It is also a prosperous town. The Central Bureau of Statistics gave it a socio-economic rating of eight, near the highest score of 10. In 2003 Modi’in and the urban garden communities of Maccabim and Reut were joined with Modi’in to become a unified urban entity.
MODI’IN IS a young, modern town whose roots go far back to biblical times.
On the outskirts of the modern town are the archeological remains of its biblical counterpart – a settlement built during the Maccabean era in the second century BCE, and completely destroyed by the Romans during the time of the Jewish revolt.
Modi’in is located in a hilly country area overlooking the Eila plain, where David slew Goliath.
Its links to the biblical past are strong, but Modi’in is not all past; it is a forward- looking, fast-growing, future-oriented city. At present it has nearly 90,000 inhabitants; according to the master plan its municipal boundaries are set to include 250,000 people. CBS statistics show that building activity has the town growing by leaps and bounds.
In the first half of 2015, building starts jumped to 583 residential units, in contrast to only 25 in the corresponding period in 2014. In the second quarter of this year, according to the chief government land appraiser, prices rose by 5%, in contrast to the corresponding quarter in 2014.
Housing starts are rising because developers are very much aware of the real estate potential of Modi’in and many are in the process of building new projects.
One of the leading developers is Africa Israel Residences. Liat Danino-Israeli, vice-president of marketing, told The Jerusalem Post, “We are building a quality residential complex in Modi’in because the potential of this town is very great.
It has easy access to nearly all of the employment centers in the center of the country, from Ness Ziona to the south to Herzliya and even Netanya to the north, as well as the many hi-tech industrial parks in Jerusalem. Furthermore, Modi’in has a high quality of life. We believe these advantages are attracting medium- and high-income families, and consequently we are building Sderot Hasavyonim, a multi-functional complex that is residential, but also includes commerce, office accommodation and public buildings. It is in the new city center, within walking distance of many of the city’s commercial and cultural centers.”
“The project ranges from two- to six-room terraced apartments adapted to the needs of modern middle-class families,” Hayim Bibas the mayor of Modi’in Reut told the Post. “The city is undergoing a substantial face lift.
The new town center will be one of the most modern and attractive in Israel, with housing, commerce and office buildings and places of entertainment.
The fact that leading developers are keen to take part in this project means that the private sector has faith in the potential of our city. When completed, the project will change the face of Modi’in.
“Our city is a magnet for English speakers; we have a population of 3,500 to 4,000, with more coming all the time.
One of the reasons is that we at city hall are doing our bit to make them feel at home. The municipality organizes all sorts of cultural events in English, which helps them feel at home and integrate into their new country.”
Yigal Yona of the Anglo-Saxon real-estate brokerage in Modi’in told the Post, “Modi’in has now overtaken Ra’anana as the favorite place for English-speaking newcomers to Israel to live. They concentrate particularly in the Moria and Shevatim neighborhoods, which are well-positioned with convenient rail and road links to the employment and entertainment centers of Tel Aviv and the capital.
Price is also an important consideration when choosing Modi’in. In Ra’anana, the price of real estate is approximately 25% to 30% higher than here.”
Prices in Modi’in are stable, with a tendency to rise. But prices have skyrocketed since its founding. Anyone who bought a property then would by now have tripled their investment. Currently the price of an average three-room apartment is NIS 1.4 million, with four-room apartments going for about NIS 1.65m. Five-room apartments are priced at about NIS 1.95m, and a penthouse goes for about NIS 2.75m.
An average semidetached dwelling costs NIS 3.5m.
Modi’in is very much an urban city entity of high-rise buildings, yet the twin ex-communal settlements of Maccabim and Reut, now integral parts of the city, give Modi’in its own suburbia – a rural environment of single-family homes and semidetached dwellings. Prices in this somewhat exclusive area of the city are high. A house on a 500 sq.m. plot can easily cost NIS 4.5m.