Foreigner's guide to property market: Living in the North

As the cost of living continues to rise in the center of the country, moving to the Galilee could offer a refreshing solution.

Galilee 311 (photo credit: Israel21C)
Galilee 311
(photo credit: Israel21C)
For those individuals or families who don’t need to live in the large cities in the center of the country, Northern Israel has a diverse range of lifestyles and housing options to offer that are worthy of consideration, which fall within the budgets of many young couples, as well as those approaching retirement age.
Coastal living in the North
The coastal cities and towns of Israel’s north have appeal to several kinds of people in a variety of situations. Israel’s largest city in the north is of course Haifa, which provides an employment base for several industries including shipping and high-tech.  Intel, IBM and many other such companies have facilities in Haifa’s Hi-Tech Industrial Park. Haifa is Israel’s third largest city and is home to two respected academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion. Here is an example of the convenience that living in Haifa could provide:
A young couple with one spouse working in Tel Aviv and one going to school at the Technion, could rather easily live in Haifa as Israel’s train service along the coast is very good with a commute from Haifa to Tel Aviv in as little as 1 hour and 10 minutes. A monthly pass for the train is available for approximately NIS 700 ($200) per month.
Nestled at the foot and slopes of Mount Carmel, there are plenty of things to do in or near Haifa, including going to the beach or visiting the areas wineries, heading inland to the many parks and forests of Israel’s nearby mountains, etc. 
For those individuals who aren’t pursuing education or employment in the high tech sector and want a smaller town feel, the communities of Nahariya and Acre, which are located on the Mediterranean, just north of Haifa, are great choices. These communities offer a slower pace along with seaside living. And as previously mentioned, with Israel’s great train service, you can pop in and out of communities up and down the coast for a day trip or visit to friends and relatives. 
Living in the Galilee region
The Galilee region of northern Israel is an incredibly diverse geographical area, with the lower sections of the area featuring an abundance of agricultural land and opportunities. The upper Galilee features rockier terrain and higher elevations, with several high mountains, including Mount Tabor and Mount Meron. 
The lakes, streams and forests of the Galilee make it a popular vacation destination for Israelis as well as tourists from around the world. Some of the more notable tourist destinations in the Galilee include Lake Kinneret, Tiberias and Safed.
Employment possibilities in the Galilee are predominately related to the tourism industry. For those individuals making aliya who have some resources, opportunities to own and operate Bed & Breakfast operations are definitely appealing. The government, in conjunction with Nefesh B’ Nefesh, is providing incentives for families making aliya who will settle in some of the Galilee’s smaller communities. The Program, entitled “Go North” offers enhanced financial assistance to those olim who will settle in specified communities in northern Israel.  In some case, the assistance includes grants for vehicle purchases and down payments for home purchases.
Lyle Plocher is the Director of Buy Property In Israel and can be reached by email at [email protected]
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