While owning a vacation home is common in some Western countries, high real estate prices in Israel make it quite prohibitive for most Israelis. However, for foreign residents who wish to spend the Jewish holidays or summer months in Israel, owning a holiday home is not a rare phenomenon. In the first of this two-part series on vacation homes in Israel, the focus is on private villas. Those who are interested in buying such a property can find options starting at NIS 1 million shekels in the far north of the country. Along the Mediterranean coast near Tel Aviv, the prices can go up to NIS 15 million.
In many countries around the world, it is not uncommon for middle-class people to own a holiday home that is used mainly during the summer. In Israel, where real estate prices are among the highest in the world, a vacation home that is used for just a few weeks during the year is rare among Israelis. When the second property is a large villa worth millions of shekels, it is a status symbol indicating that the owner belongs to the top echelons of society.
One of the most popular places for summer homes in Israel is along the Mediterranean coast, where there are several areas with properties built directly on the beach. Many people also have villas in the northern region of the Galilee, including the cities and towns located right on the Sea of Galilee, as well as in the southern resort town of Eilat. And of course, we can’t forget Jerusalem, specifically the picturesque neighborhood of Ein Karem and the surrounding rural communities.
The Mediterranean Coast
Along the Mediterranean coast, there are a number of cities and towns with spacious villas on the beach. One of the most popular options is Netanya where standard lots can be found in midtown at prices of NIS 2.5-3 million, or near the sea, in the Ramat Poleg neighborhood in the southern part of the city, at NIS 4 to 5 million for properties on half a dunam of land. In the prestigious area of Ein Hatchelet in north Netanya, private lots of one dunam sell for around 7 million shekels and built homes with swimming pools range between 5 and 12 million shekels depending on the lot size.
In Raanana, where there is a large concentration of Anglo-Saxon population, ground-level prices range from NIS 3.5 million for a “modest” cottage in a built-up area of 250 square meters, and reach up to NIS 10 and 11 million for luxurious private houses of 500-600 square meters.
Another attractive option that combines proximity to the center with a view, offers the picturesque city of Zichron Yaacov. The city is located on the Carmel ridge, 30 km south of Haifa, and overlooks the sea. It began about 140 years ago as an agricultural colony founded by the Rothschild family in the early days of Zionism, and still largely preserved the rural character including land-based construction. The city has many and varied options for vacation homes, generally in the price range of 3 to 7 million shekels.
Arsuf, is one of the most expensive locations in the country. The small village just north of Herzliya is built on a cliff overlooking the sea, and all of its houses boast a spectacular view. There are very few properties for sale here, and real estate deals are signed just once every year or two for no less than NIS 10 million. Most recently, a property of 600 square meters was sold for NIS 13.7 million in 2018. There are currently a few homes for sale in Arsuf, with asking prices ranging between NIS 14 to 20 million.
About 50 kilometers north of Arsuf is the prestigious city of Caesarea, home of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Over the past few months, ground-level properties of 400-500 square meters have been sold for NIS 6 to 8 million in the luxurious neighborhood of Cluster 4, located near the coast. Cluster 2, which is also close to the beach, offers more modest properties of 150-200 square meters for NIS 3 to 4 million.
Moshav Shavei Zion, adjacent to Israel’s northernmost coastal city, Nahariya, is another interesting option for vacation homes. In this town, which offers homes within easy walking distance of the water, you can purchase villas of about 180 square meters for around NIS 3 million.
The southern resort city of Eilat, located on the Red Sea coast, has a variety of villas and luxury apartments. Thanks to its year-round hot weather, Eilat has become a popular destination for people around the world, with many people from Russia and France purchasing vacation homes in the city. Many of the Iocal Israelis who can afford to buy a vacation villa here rent it out for short periods of time when they are not using it themselves.
Villas in Eilat generally range from NIS 2 to 3 million, however at the beginning of 2021, a 6-room cottage of 270 square meters was sold for the unusually high price of NIS 3.7 million.
The mountainous Galilee region is one of the most popular vacation areas in Israel, largely due to the beautiful Sea of Galilee. In the Mordot neighborhood in the city of Tiberias, you can find a variety of private homes overlooking the Sea of Galilee for NIS 1 to 2 million, depending on the size and condition of the property. In Moshavat Kinneret, a prestigious town located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, just south of Tiberias, spacious holiday villas of about 300 square meters go for NIS 3 to 4 million.
The Nof Ha’Kinneret neighborhood in the Upper Galilee city of Safed offers old houses for NIS 1 million or less – but most of them will require significant renovation to turn them into comfortable vacation homes. Just east of Safed, in the picturesque town of Rosh Pina, you can find detached homes of about 150 square meters for approximately NIS 2 million. In Metula, the northernmost town in Israel, located near the Lebanese border, it is possible to purchase a private house of about 150 square meters for NIS 1 to 1.5 million.
The Jerusalem Area
Despite being a coveted destination for Jews from all over the world, the term “vacation villa” does not usually make one think of Jerusalem, one of the most intense places in the world. However, on the western outskirts of the city, you can find one of its most picturesque neighborhoods – Ein Karem, home to many intellectuals and artists. This neighborhood has a variety of detached homes of different sizes and price levels, starting from about NIS 3 million.
Just north of Ein Karem is Moshav Beit Zayit, a luxurious village with green views, mountainous landscapes, and private homes that cost NIS 5 to 6 million.
In conclusion, despite high real estate prices in Israel, those looking for a summer home can purchase one in the far north of Israel at prices starting from just NIS 1 million. While a holiday villa will remain an unrealizable dream for most Israelis, for the foreign resident it may be a realistic dream and could double up as a stepping stone toward moving to Israel or retiring in the Holy Land.