In Shoham, demand is strong for real estate, but prices stable

Located where the Judean Hills meet the plains, Shoham is a vibrant urban center of 19,000 people.

Shoham 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Shoham 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Shoham is located where the Judean Hills meet the plains. It was established in 1993 when then-housing minister Ariel Sharon decided to build a string of settlements in the outlying eastern regions of the coastal strip. They were called yishuvei hakochavim, or "star settlements." A string of such settlements was built east of Kfar Saba, and Shoham can be considered, more than 15 years later, as perhaps the most successful of them all. And it is very successful. It is a vibrant urban center of 19,000 people - 4,500 households - located in hilly country 70 to 80 meters above sea level. As a result, it enjoys cool, gentle winds in summer and relatively mild winters. It also ranks consistently among the top five whenever urban quality of life is measured. Desire for residency in Shoham is brisk, which means that demand for real estate is also substantial. The local government intends to keep it that way, Shoham Mayor Gil Livneh told The Jerusalem Post. "We intend to maintain the high quality of life in Shoham," he said. "We are not a country town in the American sense of the word, but 'suburbia,' a town near a metropolitan center with lots of open spaces. "Half of the residential units are either single-family homes and semi-detached dwellings, and the other half are low-rise apartment buildings - none of which are higher than five stories. And it is set to remain so, because we do not intend to authorize the construction of high-rise apartment buildings." The appeal of Shoham is not only due to its quality of life, but also to its location; it is in the middle of the largest business center in the country and some of the largest purveyors of jobs - Israel Aircraft Industries, Ben-Gurion Airport, the Airport City logistic center and the Modi'in and North Lydda industrial parks. These days, when most of the roads in the Tel Aviv metropolitan center are jammed at most hours, many people prefer to reside in a town that is a few minutes' drive from their place of employment, rather than spend up to two hours on the road. Although Shoham is an attractive place to live, there are currently only two projects under construction: the 66-unit Four Seasons project and the 204-unit project being built by the Pershovski Construction company, called "Pershovski Boneh be-Shoham." "We are fully aware that Shoham is a town in which the quality of life and preserving the environment are very important issues," said Ronen Sheetrit, one of the entrepreneurs of the Four Seasons Project. "As a result, our buildings blend with the environment, making full use of the hilly topography of the town." Haim Kadri, Pershovski's vice president of sales, told the Post: "We are very pleased with our project in Shoham; it is selling very well. There was no building activity in Shoham during the past years, and our apartments are selling nicely." Prices for projects under way range from NIS 1.68 million to NIS 2.2m. in the Four Seasons Project and from NIS 1.3m. to NIS 2.4m. in the Pershovski project. Demand for real estate in Shoham is high not only for new construction, but also for secondhand homes. According to Nissim Bachri, the manager and proprietor of the NICE HOME real Estate Brokerage, "Homes placed on the market and reasonably priced are snapped up in from one to three weeks." Prices in Shoham range from NIS 950,000 for a three-room apartment to NIS 1.5m. for a four-room apartment, he said. But even though demand for real estate is high, prices are steady - and the reason is the hefty price rises in the past years. According to Bachri, the average price of real estate in Shoham rose by approximately 20 percent in 2007 and by more than 45% since the end of 2005.