Rechavia Real Estate - Buying an Apartment in Rehavia

Copyright 2006 by Morris Rosenthal - - contact info

The Serial Tourist's Guide to Living in Jerusalem

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The papers are full of real estate ads for both Rechavia, but the high end listings tend not to show prices. I suspect it's a question of, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it." Even though Nachalot sorts of merges into Rechavia, the neighborhoods are as different as night and day. Rechavia is home to many pensioners, either well heeled or those with the foresight to have bought when they were just out of university. There are actually yards, or at least courtyards with most of the residences, and they aren't packed as closely together. There are also far more luxury homes, even some with enough property to build a wall around them to keep me and my camera out. The neighborhoods are anchored some pretty swanky coffee shops and the flagship synagogues of some mainstream Jewish movements.I went with the Israeli pronunciation of the neighborhood, Rechavia, for this page, but Americans tend to skip the guttural "ch" and call it Rahavia. Some people merge Rechavia and Talbieh into a single neighborhood, but I drew an arbitrary line around Jabotinsky. Rechavia has a high density of modern apartment houses than Talbieh.
There were only a few smaller apartments listed in Rechavia this week with prices, two and two and a half bedrooms, and the range was from about $215,000 to $285,000. At the higher end, you get the extra half room and a private storage area, and less than 23 stairs up from the entrance:-) The least expensive apartment advertised featured two balconies, but it was on the fourth floor. I've spent a lot of time wondering around and through Rechavia, and I think one of the reasons there aren't many small apartments available is that there aren't many small apartments. I don't know anything about the history of how Jerusalem grew, I should really read a book, but Rechavia real estate values have been so high for so long that the older buildings that didn't pay for their footprint have already been replaced. A cousin of mine actually owned a single family house on a large plot for a long time, but it was a form of ownership in trust as long as a family member lived there, with the property otherwise reverting to Karen Kayemet. It's gone now, replaced by a large apartment building.
The most popular apartment size in Rechavia, at least as far as advertising them for sale with a price goes, are the three to three and a half bedroom homes. The least expensive unit I saw was still over $250,000 for the three rooms, and given the way people play with neighborhood names, it may have been sliding off in the direction of Nachalot, Sharei Chesed or Kiryat Wolfson. The apartments in the heart of Rechavia are usually listed with the street names, and seem to start closer to $300,000. The high end price I saw listed this week was just over $400,000. I saw one ground floor apartment being advertised as "good for handicapped," which I suppose is true, but it was also advertised as needing renovation. Several of the apartments were advertised with a garden, which in Rechavia, often means a pretty substantial and well groomed hideout. For all of that, I still remember that one of the properties on a main drag on the way to the Jerusalem Theatre had a broken sewer pipe in the courtyard that I could always smell walking by, year after year. I suspect the individual families wouldn't agree on paying for it together, which is a danger in communal buildings.
In the four bedroom and up range, Rechavia get really expensive. The least expensive four bedroom I saw advertised was just under $600,000, and the most expensive was over three quarters of a million dollars. Gardens are a serious feature in this price range, they are likely to be described as large, and one ad claimed the apartment was screened by greenery. I can believe it. There are some buildings in the area where you really can't see much of the first two floors from the street for all the trees and vegetation. Even though Jerusalem is in the hills, the sun here is strong throughout the winter, and the vegetation goes wild as long as it gets water. I also saw a couple large apartments in Rechavia advertised for rental, a four room for $1100/month and a five room for $1600/month. Talk about upside-down real estate values. The five room was advertised with separate heating, which means it's either a new building or an old building where the communal heating was bypassed or replaced with owner controlled systems.
The pictures from Rechavia on this page aren't a special selection intended to deceive you into thinking Rechavia is a neighborhood of gardens, it really is. As you can see in the picture above, even some driveways are green. You can also learn something about a neighborhood from the quality of their trash, which is what the African figure (assumedly a fake fetish) was left out for. When there is ongoing constructing in Rechavia, I think the neighbors make them toe the line a little better than some other places, in terms of leaving large construction dumpsters on the sidewalk and the such. There are also a couple boulevards in the center of the neighborhood, with tree lined walks and benches. The pictures were taken on a stroll up Alozoroff, down David Marcus, and Hovivei Tzion and Azza areas. Out towards the fringes of the neighborhood, there were a few huge construction cranes hovering over the houses, which are used on relatively small construction projects in Israel. Also, Rechavia contains some oddities that aren't so uncommon in the best Jerusalem neighborhoods, namely, boarded up million dollar houses, like the one below.

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