People often ask me, “what are the new ‘up and coming’ communities in which to buy an apartment?” To uncover investment opportunities, one need not always buy in new neighborhoods. Case in point: Kiryat Yovel in southwestern Jerusalem.
Kiryat Yovel (officially “Kiryat Hayovel”) was originally created to house thousands of Jewish immigrants who fled from Arab countries when the State of Israel was declared. Kiryat Yovel was a tent city until public housing projects, called shikunim, were built. Many of these buildings, easily identifiable with their flat roofs and stucco facades, have been renovated over the years, and are located throughout the community.
Originally known as Beit Mazmil and renamed Kiryat Yovel (Jubilee Town) in 1951 to honor the Jewish National Fund’s fiftieth anniversary, the neighborhood is nestled between Bayit Vegan to the east, Ein Kerem to the west, the Jerusalem Forest (including Yad Vashem and Har Herzl) to the north and Malcha (as in “the mall”) to the south.
In the 1960s, young couples started moving in, as the neighborhood offered inexpensive housing while providing excellent access (under a 15-minute bus ride) to downtown Jerusalem. Soon the character of the neighborhood changed further with the influx of teachers, academics and health care professionals employed in nearby hospitals: Hadassah Ein Kerem, Shaare Zedek and ALYN.
As the demographics shifted, a number of relatively upscale sections were developed, providing private homes and modern apartment buildings. In addition, a retail center, a community center, public swimming pools and a library were built to address the needs of its residents. And one cannot write an article on Kiryat Yovel without mentioning the famous “Hamifletzet” (“The Monster”) sculpture/slide situated in Rabinovich Park
With over 25,000 residents, Kiryat Yovel - replete with Sephardic and Ashkenazic shuls plus a number of yeshivas - is a mixed community comprised of secular and religious (Dati Leumi as well as Yeshivish) families. As Bayit Vegan pricing continues to increase, many Kollel couples have discovered Kiryat Yovel, as apartment prices are 20% to 40% lower than Bayit Vegan!
One important note for overseas buyers: This is a great place to buy if you are comfortable speaking Hebrew. There are a number of English speaking residents but they tend to be bilingual, and therefore practically all of the religious and social programs in the immediate vicinity are in Hebrew. One who wants to attend English shiurim will need to drive to neighboring Bayit Vegan or hop on a bus to participate in the numerous English classes offered in the city center.
With the imminent opening of the light rail system, which has a train stop just five minutes from Kiryat Yovel, I expect real estate prices in this neighborhood to continue to rise.
“My Israel Home” is a real estate agency focused on helping people from abroad buy homes in Israel. You may contact Gedaliah Borvick at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous articles, please visit his blog at www.myisraelhome.com.