Demands from foreign residents continue to inflate real estate bubble: Three apartments in Tel Aviv's luxurious Meier on Rothschild Tower were sold recently for NIS 34 million (about $9.9 million), according to the Berggruen Residential company which is building the project.
One of the flats was sold to a foreign national for NIS 17 million ($4.9 million). The four-room apartment is located on the tower's 18th floor, measures 393 square meters (4,230 square feet) in size and includes two balconies, each stretching over 12 square meters (129 square feet).
A three-room apartment on the same floor, measuring 273 square meters (2,938 square feet) in size with a 12-square-meter balcony, was also sold to a foreign resident for NIS 11.3 million ($3.27 million).
Another three-room apartment on the building's second floor, measuring 122 square meters (1,313 square feet) in size, was sold for NIS 5.5 million ($1.6 million).
The entrepreneurs explain that these are reasonable prices compared to the prices of the tower's other apartments, which range between NIS 5 million (41.45 million) and more than NIS 100 million ($29 million).
The price of the most expensive apartment sold in the project so far was NIS 61 million ($17.6 million) – a 500-square-meter (5,380-square-feet) triplex on the 30th floor, which was bought about two years ago by Baron Edmond de Rothschild's grandson, Nat Rothschild.
The Meier on Rothschild Tower was planned by architect Richard Meier and is being built on the corner of Rothschild Boulevard and Allenby Street. The 34-story building will include 121 apartments of two, three, four and five rooms, duplexes, penthouses and triplexes.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2013 and the new tenants will be able to move in in about two and a half years.
According to Berggruen Residential CEO Yigal Zemach, more than half of the project's apartments have already been sold for an overall price of NIS 460 million ($133 million). About 60% of the buyers are foreign residents and the rest are Israeli citizens, most working in free professions.
"The apartments sold this week displayed an average price of some $13,000 per square meters – about $2,000 higher than the average price per square meter in the building in 2010," said Zemach. "I estimate that as the construction progresses, the prices will continue to rise."