Architectural Digest: Peace Deals in Place, Wealthy Gulf Arabs Are Boosting Israel’s Super-Prime Real Estate Market

  • 02/24/21
Backed by near-limitless budgets, buyers from the UAE are looking for luxe embassies and diplomatic residences

One of the few positive things to come out of 2020 was the thawing of Middle East relations: In the span of a few months last fall, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Morocco, and Bahrain all agreed to establish diplomatic and economic relations with Israel.

The move has had countless regional implications, not the least of which has been a rising real estate market in Israel’s cultural and commercial capital, Tel Aviv. For the first time, brokers representing the city’s super-prime properties are able to court high-end clients from the Gulf and beyond.

Tomer Fridman of Sotheby’s International Israel says the impact of potential Arab buyers was immediately felt.

“The minute they signed the treaties, we were seeing tons of inquiries coming into Israel and also from Israel into the UAE. It’s been like, such a massive influx,” Fridman says.

He and his colleagues are collaborating with brokerages in the UAE, rather than directly connecting with potential buyers there. And their counterparts are doing the same for Israelis looking to buy in the Emirates.

For Gulf buyers, Fridman says, there’s been interest in both developments and single-family dwellings, including a stunning 69,000-square-foot palace in Caesarea listed for $259 million, making it one of most expensive homes in the world.

The “royal-style mansion” is festooned in marble columns, onyx mosaics, 14-karat gold moldings, and crystal chandeliers. It’s not like most Israeli design, says Fridman—Bauhaus, modernist, minimalist. But it’s right in line with tastes in the Gulf.

“It’s very lavish, very opulent—and it’s getting a lot of attention from Emirati buyers,” he says. “We’ve already had inquiries.”

In recent years, Tel Aviv has ranked among the world’s most expensive cities—and the pandemic hasn’t slowed things down, with home sales hitting a three-year high in the third quarter.

With branches in London, New York, Mykonos, and the French Riviera, luxury brokerage Beauchamp Estates opened its Tel Aviv office last year. Associate director Matthew Bortnick says there’s been plenty of interest from clients in Gulf countries about both residential and commercial properties.

Article Courtesy of Architectural Digest

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