1) Please tell us a bit about yourself.
At my essence I am a very positive and optimistic person. I suppose that is why I find Israel such a thrilling place to be. It seems that no matter how dark we sometimes feel our situation is, we always emerge, and emerge in an even better position. I have little patience for negativity and cynicism.
2) What brought you to Raanana?
When I made aliya I never had any intention of remaining in Raanana. I always considered Raanana temporary, a starting-off point. However after a short period I started to realize that try as I might, I would never think, talk or relate like a person who was born and raised in Israel. My socialization experience, the fact that I did not go to school, or the army or university in Israel, will forever ensure that I remain an outsider to a certain extent. Once I internalized this I realized that I have to seek a community made up of people with a similar life experience. Based on this realization over time I felt less and less pressure to leave the Anglo bubble of Raanana.
3) Why do you think Raanana is so attractive to foreigners?
For many of the reasons I have just mentioned, I think Raanana makes so much sense for foreigners. Many aspects of life here are familiar, to a wide range of immigrants. There are coffee shops and restaurants which are popular with French immigrants, others for Italians, and even others for British or South Africans. There are also shuls that are very much defined by countries of origin, whether it is for immigrants from the US, France, South Africa etc. In addition, many Israelis who make Raanana their home have spent substantial periods of time living abroad. That experience makes it easier for immigrants “fresh off the boat” in Israel to relate even to Israelis. Finally, many immigrants who formerly sent their children to good private schools overseas are choosing Raanana for its reputation of providing one of Israel’s best education environments.
4) What was the property market in Raanana like 20 years ago?
While I was not here 20 years ago, I know many people who moved to Raanana in that period. Essentially Raanana was a place to buy cheap property while still being close to Tel Aviv. It was seen as a cheaper destination than Herzliya. It was also still agricultural to a large extent, with large tracts of land under cultivation. However, I always believe that it is the people who make a place. Locations that attract good, middle-class, educated people are places that will naturally develop into thriving affluent towns. Raanana had the good fortune of attracting exactly such people. It was also lucky to attract a good number of English speaking immigrants, who in turn added to the status and reputation of the place.
5) How do you see the property market moving in the next 3-5 years?
I am sure that Raanana will continue to attract a large immigrant community as well as Israelis who are moving into the middle/upper classes. This will result in continued strong demand for real estate. The issue is really one of limited supply. Raanana is now saturated. While there are plans afoot for creating new apartments complexes in areas adjacent to Raanana, this will take time to develop the necessary infrastructures that existing Raanana now possesses. I would assume a timeline of about 8 to 10 years till this will play a part in taking some of the slack in the demand for properties. As such the next 3-5 years will be more or less like the last 3-5 years. In fact if there is any change it may be in the growth in demand for high-end luxury properties, based largely on the upward movement in local demographics.
6) Would you say that now is the time to rent or buy property in Raanana?
Without a doubt. It is one of the best property locations in which to purchase. It works on the 2 fundamental levels. As an investment the supply/demand tension will ensure that prices keep on rising for both purchases and rentals. As a place to locate, there are few better towns in Israel that offer as much in terms of infrastructure, services, and importantly for immigrants, familiarity. In addition, when Raanana is connected to the Israel railway network (plans approved) the playground of Tel Aviv will be a 20 minute ride away. Just imagine……..
We would like to thank Eric again for his time and interesting perspective on Raanana and the real estate situation in that area. If you are interested in the Raanana area, Eric can be reached at email@example.com or through his website http://israelpg.com/.
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