The project acquired is expected to be the most successful investment, to date, of the investment fund Rent IT which focuses on long-term rentals. A heavily discounted price reflects the limitations and prohibitions that are characteristics of a long-term development. Due to the exclusivity of the Buchman neighborhood, yields are estimated to reach 4%, and capital gains, when the units can be sold after 20 years, are expected to significantly enhance the returns on the investment.
Real estate investment fund, Rent IT, has purchased the entire mixed-use development of Guy and Doron Levy in the exclusive neighborhood of Buchman. The long-term rental project, consisting of 120 apartments, three offices with a total area of 217 square meters, 65 square meters of storage rooms, and 165 parking spaces was sold for NIS 250 million. With 2-, 3- and 4-room units including garden apartments and penthouses, the development is expected to be completed in June this year.
The land purchased by Guy & Doron Levy from the Israel Land Authority tender was originally zoned for assisted living accommodations, however after purchasing a corresponding lot which was to be developed into the neighborhood’s unique shopping center, Moria Center, the company changed the zoning of the land to long-term residential rentals.
Until a few years ago, the concept of residential complexes designated for long-term rental that were owned by companies was unheard of in Israel. Homeownership is highly valued in Israeli society and there are strong cultural and social influences on young couples to purchase their own home. The majority of rental apartments have always belonged to private investors and little attention was paid to residential real estate by institutional investors.
Buchman (named after architect Mendel Buchman) but officially known as Moriah and Hashvatim, located in the north-eastern side of Modi’in, is one of Israel’s most expensive and desirable neighborhoods which has attracted a large number of English-speaking families and retirees from the United States and the UK, alongside veteran Israelis and expats, many of whom are professionals and high-profile military personnel. Three-bedroom apartments in the neighborhood sell for more than 4 million shekels and houses range between 7 and 10 million shekels.
The discounted price for the complex reflects the fact that the units must be rented for the next twenty years, after which they may be sold on the free market. Although Guy and Doron Levy originally set out to rent the units after completion, they decided to sell the project due to changes in the market, in particular the increased interest rates which reduced the profitability of the project. A sale of this magnitude will give the company the cash flow with which they can further develop.
Rent IT’s CEO and founder, Sharon Tussia-Cohen, lives in the adjacent neighborhood of Reut and is familiar with the exclusiveness of and demand in the Buchman area. When asked why the project was attractive to the fund, he responded that “the planning and portfolios of the project, with a large number of small units in such a high-demand area, is most appealing”. Aware of the fact that many English-speaking retirees are interested in joining their children, and newly married couples who are studying or still in the army and want to live close to their parents, Tussia-Cohen feels confident that the units will be easily rented.
According to Tussia-Cohen, “While high-interest rates add to the risk of the fund’s investment, it also means that mortgages are more prohibitive and thus purchasing a home is less attractive for many. Given the high cost of housing alongside the shortage of housing starts and the expected lag in construction as a result of the war, together with anticipated immigration, the fund’s strategy is simply to meet the needs of long-term renters as an alternative to buying an apartment.
The fund has strong and stable backing, with shareholders that include leading companies in the Israeli economy including Bank Hapoalim’s investment arm, Clal Insurance, and pension funds Mivtachim and Makafet, which Tousier-Cohen says will give renters, who can choose between 5- or 10-year lease, confidence and trust that they are selecting a stable and long-term housing alternative.
Rent IT Fund, based in Airport City, was established at the beginning of 2022 and, to date, has raised NIS 290 million. Including their latest investment, the fund has invested a total of NIS 800 million in projects in Carmiel, Kiryat Gat, Netanya and now Modi’in amounting to more than 400 units in the long-term housing rental market in Israel. The fund is managed by a team of experts with decades of experience in the real estate industry and the rental housing sector in particular, as well as the capital markets.
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