Buying real estate in Jerusalem
Jerusalem is not just the Holy City – it is also a thriving and comfortable place to live, and a profitable place to buy. To learn more about the Jerusalem life, the city’s neighborhoods, and buying real estate in Jerusalem, keep reading.
Why buy real estate in Jerusalem?
Jerusalem has long been considered the Jewish Holy City. Containing the foremost site of pilgrimage as well as thousands of years of history and culture, and featuring regularly in Jewish prayers, books and poems, Jerusalem is undoubtedly the most important city in terms of religion.
This in itself might be enough of a reason to invest for many of you. Having a house to live in, visit, or rent out to support residents is a way to feel connected to the city, whether or not you can be there physically. But Jerusalem is also a rapidly expanding city that invokes a constant demand for housing – making it an excellent, ever-relevant place to buy a property.
What is Jerusalem like to live in?
Compared to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem is noticeably quieter and more conservative – depending on where, of course. The center of town boasts bustling and colorful Machne Yehuda market, and around the busier central streets there’s a thriving nightlife after dark. But for the most part, the residents of Jerusalem enjoy a slower pace of life than their big city counterparts.
True to its origins, the city is a comfortable place to be religious. A large number of kosher and kasher lemehadrin restaurants and eateries are dotted throughout the city, whether upscale high-dining spots or humble falafel stands. A selection of hamin and cholent shops are also found, as well as catering spots where you can buy last-minute Shabbat food.
On Saturdays, the streets are mostly quiet. There are few cars on the roads, shops are closed, and only very few cafés and restaurants around the city remain open. Even some of these keep Shabbat, sending the cheque by text message the following day instead of accepting money onsite. Jerusalem’s thousand or so synagogues are open, and in many neighborhoods, you can hear the sound of prayer.
Depending on your area and proximity to the city center or East Jerusalem, you may hear other types of prayer, too – the Islamic call to prayer can be faintly heard from mosque minarets in many locations, while church bells also call frequently.
This said, the city also has plenty to offer its secular residents. There are cultural institutions like the Israel Museum, the Islamic Arts Museum, the Bloomfield Science Museum and Yad Vashem; a variety of cafés, restaurants, and bars; and an abundance of parks and green spaces.
Neighborhoods in Jerusalem
Jerusalem is full of neighborhoods – some of them only a few streets large. Each has an individual character and history. Here’s a selection.
The Old City
Yes, there are still houses for sale in the famous Old City, although less so than in others. The large mass of tourists and worshippers does impair the calm and quiet, but it is a classic location and closest there is to the holy sites.
Yemin Moshe has a wonderful and fascinating history. It was the first neighborhood to be built outside the city walls. In the late 19th century at the initiative of the Montefiori family, Yemin Moshe was built to house a thriving Jewish population, offering them work and shelter outside of the then disease-ridden Old City. The windmill that was used in the employment of the early community still stands as a proud relic of the neighborhood’s past today, with a beautiful view of the city walls and nearly every landmark within them.
To live in Yemin Moshe boasts houses – not flats, which is a rarity in Israel – in quiet, safe neighborhoods. Many of these houses have been bought by foreign residents, this makes the neighborhood a luxury neighborhood mainly of internationals with such beautiful views, it’s worth considering.
A walking distance from the trendy Emek Refaim street, the German Colony is full of family-friendly apartments. Parts of the area are being redeveloped, meaning that you can easily buy in one of the luxurious, fuss-free new builds for sale.
The neighborhood is leafy, peaceful and quiet. Although a great variety of people live here, it is popular among olim chadashim from north America, England and France, many of them are modern Orthodox.
Just south of the German Colony, Baqa is full of luxury apartments and brand-new, trendy businesses. From cafés to cheese and wine shops, it’s hard to live in Baqa and not enjoy a pleasurable lifestyle.