The garden city north of Tel Aviv

The rise and rise of the small town of Hod Hasharon.

hod hasharon 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
hod hasharon 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Hod Hasharon is a dormitory town in the process of waking up - dormitory because it is near the metropolitan center of Tel Aviv, which supplies its residents with work and waking up because the current city administration headed by Mayor Chai Adiv have formed a small hi-tech park that will create jobs for some of its residents. In the not so distant past Hod Hasharon was something of a back water area and real estate prices reflected its status because supply exceeded demand. Now, however, Hod Hasharon is in high demand as hefty price rises in Tel Aviv have made the big city overly expensive for many young couples. Therefore, they are willing to suffer what they believe to be the discomforts of living far from the action and offices of Tel Aviv. At the moment, the decision to live in Hod Hasharon is largely financial as a 100 to 120 square meter apartment in the middle-class areas of Tel Aviv can cost some $500,000 compared to approximately $320,000 in Hod Hasharon. Yet, while it is now price and not the attractiveness of the city that is propelling demand upwards, things may be changing and soon people will WANT to live in Hod Hasharon and not just because of cheap real estate. "We have one of the best educational systems in the country, we are enlarging the hi-tech industrial parks so as to be able to create well-paid jobs and we are the greenest city in Israel," says Mayor Adiv. Not only is Hod Hasharon green, it is rural in nature as it is an amalgamation of five agricultural settlements that happened to be located adjacent to each other, namely Ramataim, Magdiel, Hadar, Ramat Hadar and Neve Sha'anan. They became one municipal entity in 1964 but still retain some of their rural charm. Hod Hasharon also has space a lot of space, some 24 million square meters - a lot of space for a town of 46,000 that is set to grow to not more than 80,000 in 10 to 15 years. Nevertheless, instead of using all the land, or even most of it for residential purposes, Mayor Adiv intends to keep Hod Hasharon nice and small and keep it as green as possible. He is using this space to build parks, big parks - a 250-acre park on the banks of the Yarkon River, another 100-acre park with a 40-acre lake on what was once a refuse dump, the 25-acre four-seasons park, and an additional 25 acres of park called Beyt Hanaara, which based on a large natural grove of trees. A lot of park for a city of 46,000. Demand for housing in Hod Hasharon took off some two years ago, driving the dollar prices of residential real estate up by some 30% in the past 18 months. "The price of an average 100 sq. m. apartment in Hod Hasharon is approximately $330,000 compared to $500,000 in Tel Aviv, $400,000 in Ra'anana and $360,000 in Kfar Saba," according to Dror Limor the Re/MAX franchisee in Hod Hasharon. Limor believes prices will go on rising at similar levels during 2008 as demand is still very strong and those moving into Hod Hasharon seek higher quality and larger residences. "We have adapted our new projects to this demand for extra large apartments. Even three-room apartments have to be 110 sq.m., on average," says Edna Hasson deputy general manager marketing at the Prizat Hasson real estate company, which builds extensively in Hod Hasharon. "A four-room apartment of 130 to 140 sq. m. is common in our projects. The same holds true for penthouses and garden apartments. Customers demand large open spaces terraces or roofs and large gardens - 100 sq. m. of terrace or 200 sq. m. of garden are not uncommon in our building projects."