By Dror Halavy
YERUSHALAYIM – Unlike their secular counterparts, religious and chareidi homebuyers cannot live “anywhere,” but are generally limited to neighborhoods where institutions such as shuls and yeshivos are available. Many religious families prefer to settle in neighborhoods where they will find like-minded neighbors, while chareidi families prefer to be near yeshivos or other institutions they are affiliated with.
As supply is limited, one would imagine that prices for homes would be higher in religious or chareidi neighborhoods – but a study by real estate expert Alon Greenberg shows the opposite; in general, it is the secular neighborhoods that cost more.
Results of the study were published in Yediot Aharonot and followed prices in seven cities: Bnei Brak, Ashdod, Yerushalayim, Netanya, Petach Tikvah, Rechovot and Raanana. Each city was chosen because it has neighborhoods of all three segments (except for Raanana, where there is no large chareidi community).
The study examined construction rates and costs in each neighborhood, as well as the price of secondhand apartments and prices of properties bought and sold, information available from the Tax Authority. The data were analyzed to determine average prices and costs for construction and resales of homes in each representative neighborhood.
In four of the seven cities – Raanana, Petach Tikvah, Netanya and Ashdod – homes in secular neighborhoods were more expensive than in chareidi or religious neighborhoods, the study showed. According to Greenberg, secular homebuyers see the higher prices as a “guarantee” that their investment will be safe. Lower prices are seen as a danger, as they are likely to attract religious or chareidi families, who generally earn less and/or have less disposable income due to costs associated with their lifestyles.