Want to Buy Property in Safed, Israel?

old-city-safedIf you are holding out for a new apartment in Safed, there is some great news for you.

Seventy-five acres were purchased recently by two frum developers at the top of the Canaan neighborhood in Tzfat. Plans are to build 2,000 apartments for the frum community. Safed, or Tzfat, is already home to thousands of chareidim, who enjoy not on the great mystical and holy atmosphere of this beautiful city in the mountains of northern Israel, but also the great home prices. Whereas across Israel, the price of apartments has been leaping upward, in Safed, they remain affordable.

As with all new projects, quite a bit more work needs to be done with the city planning and zoning offices, but the good news is that the ink is dry and the process is moving forward. Stay in touch with us to be kept up to date, and to learn about making a reservation once the project arrives at that point.

Check out our Tzfat page for a sample of properties available in Safed, but keep in mind, that many properties are not listed here. We are expert property finders. Just be in touch, tell us where you want to live (in the Galil) and we will find it for you!

 

Buying Property in Israel?

Have you been sitting on the fence, looking at real estate in Israel but not yet taken the plunge? It could be that your hesitancy is working to your advantage. No guarantees of course. In this business, the real estate landscape can change quickly. But, in a very interesting Globes article interviewing Avi Tiomkin, a consultant on international hedge funds, real estate prices in Israel are declining, and in time, the prices you see on the market will more accurately reflect reality. According to Tiomkin, the prices we see now are a result of the combined efforts of Israeli banks and developers to keep prices higher, but Tiomkin believes this scheme is coming to the end of its life.

Tiomkin points to a number of indicators, such as a significant drop in housing sales, especially in the luxury market, a tremendous slow-down in demand by overseas investors and speculators, and a soon-to-be influx of new housing stock on the market. He paints a potentially gloomy picture too, depending upon the actions or inactions of the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Israel. I am sure both will do everything they can to keep the real estate market in Israel strong.

Bottom line: we are entering a true buyers’ market. Should you sit it out longer? Maybe, but it could also be that the scenarios Tiomkin paints do not materialize, or are short-lived. It can also be that while you sit it out waiting for prices to fall further, someone else comes along and grabs your dream home. We suggest a little of both. Be careful about checking the market, doing research on comps, getting a second opinion on the true worth of the property and then jump in.

private home in safed, israel

private home in safed, israel

 

Nine Things You Should Know Before You Buy Property in Israel

IMG-20160731-WA0009Great you are ready to buy a home in Israel. You have found the dream house or apartment, negotiated a good price and are ready to sign on the bottom line. The real estate lawyers over at Epstein & Company suggest that before you take this last step, you beware of these nine very important facts. It will save you a lot of headaches and heartache down the road. For their in-depth discussion please go to their website:

  1. Zichron Devarim, or Memorandum of Understanding. If you are in America, a Memorandum of Understanding or Intent to Purchase is a commonly used document that signifies you are serious about purchasing the real estate. In Israel, this is a legally binding document, even though it expresses an intent to prepare a sales contract at a future date. Avoid this. Instead, visit with a competent real estate attorney who will prepare all of the legal documents necessary to conclude the sale, while protecting your interests.
  2. Taxes. In a previous article we discussed some of the common tax consequences involved when purchasing real estate in Israel. Before you sign the sales contract, be sure to consult with a competent authority so that you have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of what your tax obligations will be, and what loopholes, if any, might be available to you.
  3. Heytel Hashbacha or Improvement Tax. This is a tax burden borne by the seller, who must pay for an increase in value between his purchase price and his selling price due to improvements made to the property or assessments by the municipality. Oftentimes this issue will come into play when discussing the price. If you find out in advance what will be his improvement tax, it could be that this can be used in your offer. There are creative ways to work out the sale so that the seller’s tax can be lessened.
  4. Debts at the Municipality. Once the sale is completed, your name will be written in the legal records—Tabu. In order to do this, all outstanding bills must be paid by the seller. Your lawyer is responsible for completing all the necessary documents and checking to ensure that the property is clean of debt. Typically, a portion of the sales proceeds is held by your attorney until he or she receives verification of the property’s debt-free status.
  5. Mortgage. If you are applying for a mashkanta, or mortgage, be sure to do this before you sign a contract of sale. In Israel, the contract is the last step in the process of purchasing a property. Once you sign, you are committed to the sale and to making the payment. If for some reason you should not receive the mortgage or receive less than you thought and you cannot follow through with the purchase, you will find yourself facing penalties for breach of contract.
  6. Nesach Tabu. This is an important document that your attorney should obtain before you even begin discussing prices. The Nesach Tabu will indicate if there are any liens, foreclosures or additional mortgages. It will also confirm that the property was correctly registered to the seller. It is not unusual to find yourself already into the purchase process only to find out that the property was never transferred from a previous owner, sometimes generations ago. This means that the seller does not have the legal right to sell the property to you. It is not difficult to make the changes, but depending upon the circumstances, it can be time-consuming.
  7. Future Plans. If you are buying a home in Israel, especially in a new community, or one where there are lots of empty lots, it is wise to go to the municipal planning office and ask about the future development plans of the neighborhood. Do not take the seller’s or real estate agent’s word for it. They may not actually know what is on the books in the planning office. If you are buying a second hand apartment, that has been renovated and includes additional space, you will want to confirm with the municipality that all construction was done with the necessary permits. This is especially critical if you are using a mortgage to purchase the property.
  8. Visually examine the property. If you are purchasing real estate in Israel from abroad, then in addition to asking for expert photos and a video, do your best to find someone on the ground who can inspect the property for you. In Israel, property is sold as is. Better to know in advance what needs fixing than after you have paid for the home. Further, if you have a list of repairs, it can help you with negotiating a lower price.
  9. Real estate lawyer. All sales of property in Israel require a lawyer. Unlike in other countries, real estate agents cannot conclude a sales contract. We recommend that both parties to the contract utilize their own lawyers, who are competent in real estate law. Your real estate lawyer can sign all the necessary documents for you should you not be here to sign the final purchase contract and other documents.

Hot Property to Buy in Safed, Israel

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For all you searchers of property in Safed (Tzfat) Israel, here is a property you do not want to miss! Extremely affordable, perfect location, views, and currently rented, meaning you would have income right away until you are ready to move in yourself. Here are some brief details: 4 rooms (3 bedrooms) 2 bathrooms, one with a tub!, 7th floor (but one elevator entrance is on 3rd floor giving you a very easy climb on Shabbat and Yom Tov), just off the midrachov and close to everything you need and want to do in this Holy City of Tzfat. If you are looking to buy property in Safed, Israel, you need look no further. Be in touch right away at galilproperties@gmail.com to learn more, see more photos, and arrange for a viewing. Asking price is only 790,000 NIS.

Buying Property in Israel? This Could be Good News for You

Is a Dip in New Apartment Sales Good News for Buyers?

According to a recent Globes article, the number of new apartment sales in Israel is on the decline. The Ministry of Finance and Central Bureau of Statistics reports that while 1.7 percent more new apartments were sold in July 2016  than in June 2016, compared to July 2015, the number of new units sold has fallen by 19.3 percent. Looking at the year so far, the trend seems to be holding, as records show that from January to July, 2016, the number of new apartment sales in Israel was 6.7 percent below the number of sales during this same time period one year ago. The central Bureau of Statistics also reports that demand for housing is on the decline.

The biggest decline in new apartment sales is in northern Israel where new sales decreased by 15%. Following closely behind is Tel Aviv and then Haifa. Sales in the south, though, rose by 12%.

Lower sales across all sectors

In general, according the Ministry of Finance, fewer real estate transactions in general took place during the second quarter of 2016. This is primarily due to the drop in new apartment sales, but also in sales of affordable or starter homes. Investor purchases has also fallen off, with more investors looking to sell their properties than investors ready to purchase.

What does it mean?

IMG-20160720-WA0007If you are looking to buy a new apartment in Israel, it could mean that you will be able to negotiate a better price with the developer. In most cities in Israel, the developer needs sales in order to complete the project. If you look around in some northern cities, particularly in Tiberias, you might see some half-completed buildings. This is because the developer did not sell enough units or the early purchasers have failed to make the installment payments. Therefore, it could be that this is an opportunity for you to jump in and purchase a new apartment in Israel at a more reasonable price. Will it stay this way? Only G-d knows, but in the meantime, if you have set your heart on a new residence, this could be the best time to buy just what you want and have some money leftover.

**See also

 

Ready to Buy Property in Israel? Don’t Forget About the Taxes

2016 - 2Before you buy property in Israel, it is advisable to consult with your lawyer, mortgage broker or accountant on the subject of purchase taxes (mas rechisha). There have been many changes to the purchase tax structure over the past few years, and rather than relying on anecdotal information, avail yourself of expert advice.

Below is a brief overview extracted from an excellent paper on the subject of mas rechisha prepared by Epstein & Co., a Jerusalem law firm. You can obtain the full report by visiting their website (www.epsteinlaw.co.il).

If you are planning to invest in real estate in Israel, Epstein & Co., have two other very good documents on their website: “How can Foreign Residents Invest in Real Estate in Israel Without Paying Taxes?” and “The Ins and Outs of Real Estate in Israel.” We are not making an endorsement of the law firm, merely recommending that you take advantage of the very helpful information they provide through their website.

shutterstock_144600404-e1418557750891Mas Rechisha

The Purchase tax is called mas rechisha. Until 2014, there were various provisions of which a buyer could avail himself and avoid paying a tax or pay a much reduced rate. New regulations have tightened up the exemptions. Whereas previously foreign and Israeli buyers could avoid the tax if purchasing their first property in Israel, the new law requires all foreign buyers (whether Israeli or not) to pay the purchase tax regardless of price and regardless of whether it is the first home in Israel or not. However the new law did make two exceptions: (1) if you live in Israel and hold Israeli citizenship; or (2) you immigrate to Israel within two years of making the purchase.

IMG-20160731-WA0009Israel and you live in Israel

A buyer must demonstrate that Israel is his or her primary residence in order to qualify for the exemption. A typical measure is if you spend more than half the year living here, then Israel is considered your primary domain. But nothing is simple when it comes to governments. Be prepared for the tax authority to ask for lots of proofs.

Foreign buyer

Non-residents must pay a purchase tax and it is based upon the purchase price of the property. Currently, on properties of up to 4,800,605 NIS the tax is 8%, and for properties over 4,800,605 NIS, the tax is 10%.

There are many intricacies and constant updating to the tax laws in Israel. A wise buyer will be sure to first check with a qualified attorney so that you have a full accounting of what it is going to cost you to purchase that dream home. Also a qualified attorney can help you access all the possible exemptions and discounts to make the tax part of your purchase as painless as possible.

 

 

Buy This Gorgeous Property in Yavne’el, Israel

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Yavne’el is a stunning yishuv (village) in the lower Galilee valley, around 15 minutes southwest from the city of Tiberias. Yavne’el was founded as an agricultural co-op, or moshav, but today, while you can still see cows and sheep grazing on the hillsides, it is quickly becoming a community of choice for families who want to be near the Kineret (Sea of Galilee) and amenities of the city of Tiberias, yet far away from the crowds, noise and traffic. The yishuv is coming alive not only with new housing and synagogues, but also with shopping and eateries. Gone are the days when Yavne’el residents have to travel to Tiberias for all their shopping needs.

Within Yavne’el are a few different neighborhoods, one of which is Smadar Ilit, nestled in the hills overlooking the yishuv, the Kineret and the mountains of the Galilee Valley. It will remind you of southern California, but for a fraction of the price.

In Smadar Ilit you will find the exquisite villa, with gorgeous interiors, breathtaking views and nothing but luxury to surround you. It will be like living at a vacation spa, all the days of your life. 180 sqm of high-class living space, 5 rooms, master bedroom, swimming pool, jacuzzi and spa, all on a half dunam lot. The price is unbelievable! Only 2.3M NIS. It will sell quickly . Be in touch now to schedule a viewing, galilproperties@gmail.com.