Living the high life

The market for very expensive penthouses is made up of overseas buyers, as well as local buyers. In fact, more than half the buyers are Israelis.

Penthouse in Tel Aviv 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Penthouse in Tel Aviv 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In Israel, living in a single-family home with a large garden was a very important status symbol. It meant that the owners were affluent. If they also used their house to host receptions, it meant that the owners were high up on the social scale.
Nowadays a single-family home is still a status symbol, but it is being upstaged by the penthouse. In a single-family home, the size of the house and the garden are important, as well as the interior design. These are also important in a penthouse, but there is something that is even more important – the height of the building. The higher, the better.
When buying a penthouse that is still in the building stage, height and location are the most important elements. Size comes second. The interior design and layout of the apartment are always left to the buyer or to his interior designer. Meir Menachem, co-general manager of the Naot Shiran real estate agency that deals with high-end properties, says, “At present, demand for expensive real estate is somewhat subdued. The market has its ups and downs, and right now we are at the bottom of the trough. But demand is set to recover.”
The market for very expensive penthouses is made up of overseas buyers, as well as local buyers. In fact, more than half the buyers are Israelis. During the past 15 to 20 years as the socioeconomic divide has widened, the number of wealthy Israelis has increased substantially.
There are many who can afford multimillion-dollar dwellings, and today it is fashionable to live in very expensive dwellings.
Menachem explains that when an Israeli family moves into a penthouse that costs two or three million dollars, they usually move in from the suburbs and the penthouse becomes their principal residence.
“With overseas buyers, it’s different,” he says. “In most cases, it is not their principal residence but a second home or a holiday home, and there is a marked preference for penthouses with a sea view.”
A large luxurious penthouse with a sea view can cost much more than a single-family home in one of the high-end areas of the country. A 400 square meter villa on a 1,250 sq. m. plot in Savyon can cost NIS 8 million to NIS 11 million.
A 200 sq. m. penthouse with an 80 to 100 sq. m, terrace can cost much more, especially if it is on the seafront and has a sea view. Penthouses on the seafront or near the seafront can be found in Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Netanya.
And Bat Yam, a satellite town to the south of Tel Aviv, is slowly coming into its own. Very expensive penthouses can also be found in Jerusalem. There, a prime location has a view of the Old City or the Judean Hills.
An example of a seafront penthouse is for sale in Herzliya Pituah. It is a triplex penthouse of 180 sq.m. and a 150 sq.m. rooftop garden with panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and Tel Aviv.
There is a split-level apartment on the fourth and fifth floors in a restored Bauhaus building in downtown Tel Aviv. It has high ceilings, and the living room cum dining room area opens on to a 25 sq.m. terrace. The lower floor also includes a master suite and a study. The upper floor includes a guest suite and a rooftop terrace. The asking price is NIS 9 million. In the Rova Lev Ha’ir Tower in central Tel Aviv, a 210 sq.m. penthouse is being offered at NIS 12 million.
A penthouse or rooftop apartment can cost NIS 4 million to NIS 6 million, depending on its size and location. In the past, penthouses were the abode of the wealthy. At these times, developers are adapting themselves to market trends and building penthouses in their new developments. They may not be as large or as high as their multimillion-dollar counterparts, but they are penthouses all the same, with large terraces or roofs and a greater degree of privacy.
A second-hand penthouse apartment of 150 to 200 sq. m. in a good location in Ramat Gan or Givatayim can cost from NIS 2.3 million to NIS 3.5 million. And one can develop one’s own penthouse, as it were. The municipal authorities allow owners of top floor apartments to annex the part of the roof that is above their apartments to build a 40 sq. m. room. This requires the approval of at least 75% of the apartment owners in the building. In most cases, the owners of the top floor apartments refurbish the lobby or the garden as a quid pro quo.

The Minrav Tower in Jerusalem
The Minrav Group is building a magnificent apartment building in the center of Jerusalem of three-, four- and five-room apartments and penthouses. It is called the Minrav Tower and it is a landmark in design.
It has spacious interiors and large balconies with breathtaking views. It is located on Straus Street near Rav Kook Street. This is a great opportunity to acquire a home in a special location, which in several years will be one of the more exclusive areas in the capital. There is no doubt that the center of Jerusalem will be changing dramatically for the better, and this will be reflected in a rise in prices.
For more information, call Shelly Levine at (02) 566-2499.

Penthouses in the suburbs
The very expensive penthouses or apartments are those on the coastal strip with sea views or in Jerusalem with views of the Old City or the Judean Hills.
Some developers such as Levinstein Con & Eng Ltd. are building high-rise apartment blocks in the suburbs. They may be less costly because the land in these areas is cheaper than land on the seashore, but the developers spare no effort to make the buildings architecturally attractive, incorporating the latest cutting-edge technologies and making the apartments inviting and airy A case in point is the Levinstein 19- story apartment building in Ganei Tikva, a suburb of Tel Aviv adjacent to the luxurious garden suburb of Savyon. The tower has a 180 square meter penthouse with an 80 sq m. terrace. The building has large 220 sq. m. split-level apartments with 40 sq. m. terraces, as well as lofts with terraces. They are priced at over NIS 4 million.