Tel Aviv Top Tech City, But Not Top Place to Live

The Azrieli buildings, as seen over the Ayalon Highway and River at night in Tel Aviv. (Esther Rubyan/Flash 90)

Although regarded as a world tech center, Tel Aviv isn’t the best place for a tech firm to do business – once again, because of the high cost of real estate, with workers unable to afford to live in the city. Tel Aviv scored as the 15th best place to live and work in the annual survey conducted by Savills, an international employment consulting firm for tech workers.

The survey is based on over 100 factors that affect the business environment, employees, and finances, including business costs and regulations, transportation times and costs, the digital infrastructure, pollution levels, quality of parks, crime, health care and pay equality, talent pool, and rents. In many of the categories, Tel Aviv scores better than the average of the 22 cities listed in the report – except for residential real estate costs compared to salaries, where the city compares poorly.

The average weekly rent for tech workers living in “prime” areas of the city is $1,817, compared $1,196 as the average for the cities; while “average” accommodations are $415 per week in Tel Aviv, versus $368 on average elsewhere. Office rent, on the other hand, is substantially cheaper in Tel Aviv, averaging $24 per square foot versus $53 in other cities. Transportation is also cheaper – an average of $1.79 per one way trip to or from work, versus $2.13 elsewhere – although commuting time, at 35 minutes, is slightly longer than the 32 minutes on average in the study.

The top-rated city was Austin, which, besides having a thriving tech environment, has reasonable costs of living. Austin is followed by San Francisco, New York and London, all of which have very high real estate costs.