Israeli home sells for unbelievable amount in world’s most expensive city

Asaf Touchmair, part-owner of a real estate firm, bought the $33 million house, which sits on a near-acre plot in Tel Aviv.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

An Israeli tycoon has paid a record sum for a home in Tel Aviv, shelling out 105 million shekels for a house that sits on a plot just under one acre in size and includes a pool and two outbuildings.

Asaf Touchmair, part-owner of the Israel-Canada real-estate firm, can afford it. Thanks to his 20% share of the company he helped found, he is worth some NIS1.2 billion, according to the Calcalist financial paper.

Neve Tzedek is one of the most prestigious neighborhood in Tel Aviv. It is popular with the rich and famous due to its proximity both to the sea and to trendy Rothschild Boulevard. It is also uncluttered by any huge apartment houses or office buildings of the kind Touchmair builds and sells.

One of his neighbors is Roman Abramovich, a former Russian oligarch who owns a private investment company and British Premier League soccer club Chelsea F.C. Abramovich bought a former hotel on a same-size plot for NIS100 million in 2015. Back then, the shekel traded for about 3.8 to the dollar, versus 3.18 today, so in essence he paid some USD 26.3 million, while Touchmair had to fork out five million more.

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In general, housing prices in Israel have nearly doubled in the last decade, but Tel Aviv homes are by far the most expensive in the country. Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics in mid-2021 showed that the other big cities don’t compare, with equivalent homes in Jerusalem costing 67% less, and in Haifa – three times less.

The average price of a tiny 1-2 room apartment in Tel Aviv is NIS 2.42 million, way beyond the means of most Israelis.

According to The Economist, Tel Aviv became the world’s most expensive city last year, with housing costs accounting for a respectable share of the reason. It previously jumped from tenth place in 2019 to fifth place in 2020, marking a huge rise in just three years.

Back in 2018, Touchmair participated in a Calcalist conference that discussed predictions for the future, and he commented on the rising prices of real estate in Tel Aviv:

“The central region is the locomotive that pulls the whole market up – and is the real problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Once they address the real problem, we’ll be able to see an immediate effect on the periphery [of the country] as well.”

Analysts have said that the main problem is too much money chasing too few properties.