Home News Away for 2 years, foreign owners flock back to Israel homes as COVID rules are eased

Away for 2 years, foreign owners flock back to Israel homes as COVID rules are eased

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For most of the year, Gilgaric lives in the tidy suburbs of London on Mill Hill. However, she also owns an apartment in Netania, a 5-minute walk from the beach.

Recently, Garrick returned to his home in Israel after a 26-month spell in which an attempt to enter Israel was plagued by COVID-19 restrictions.

She described her second return as “an incredible emotional experience for the first time in a long time.”

“It’s great that I’m here, sitting on the balcony, looking at the same view, and reuniting with friends and family,” she said.

Nationally, foreign owners of Israeli homes are back in a few years, thanks to deregulation of pandemics. A group of people who were not completely in exile revived in a luxurious complex that was left dark when Israel closed its gates in March 2020, but left the house closed for a long time. It also exposed the wear, lacerations, and more serious problems caused by the.

“The whole flat smells moldy, so I had to put in a dehumidifier to dry it,” Garrick said. “All the toiletries and food I usually keep flat are out of date and need to be thrown away. And some of the balconies have long been exposed to salt from the sea and suffer from it. “

Gil Garrick, right, March 2022, balcony of her apartment in Netanya, Israel. (Provided)

About 83,000 Israeli real estate In the hands of foreigners Those who have not lived in Israel for most of the year. Many owners have ideological or religious ties to Israel and consider the property to be a villa rather than a villa.

In many places, homes are concentrated in ultra-luxury developments that are sold exclusively through overseas roadshows, and Israelis can hardly afford it. Building gatherings are less resident all year round and can be what locals call a “ghost neighborhood”, except for Jewish holidays and school holidays.

When these foreign owners returned home in 2019, they didn’t expect it would take years before they could return.

Since March 2020, Israel has begun to impose strict restrictions on incoming travelers, including a two-week forced quarantine and, in some cases, a total ban. People with Israeli citizenship can generally enter the country, but people with only foreign passports often cannot enter the country for months at a time.

Many foreign homeowners yell at gathering with other tourists, They had a meaningful stake In the country.

“I think it’s shameful,” one of the villa owners told The Times of Israel. “I’m really disappointed with the Israeli government. I think it makes a difference to be a homeowner here.”

Police issued a temporary obstacle in the city of Netania on January 8, 2021, during a third national blockade to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (Yossi Aloni / Flash90)

Israel lifted almost all of the remaining restrictions on March 1, 2022, and in the two months since then, more than 385,000 foreigners have arrived, almost in line with the overall 2021 total. Some of them saw the house for the first time.

COVID-19 made it difficult for owners to visit Israel, but it did not prevent new buyers from entering the market. In many cases, they bought from developers before construction and looked only at the paper plans for future luxury condominiums, especially investors from the United States continued to buy real estate.

Like Israeli investors, they have access to a low purchase tax of 5%, which was in effect until the end of November 2021, which has risen to 8% again, and there is some evidence. Before rising, potential buyers competed to complete the deal..

The apartment wasn’t designed to be empty every month, and many who returned were struck by a nasty surprise when they returned.

“These apartments have been dusty and dirty for two years,” said Jackie Venson, who manages dozens of foreign-owned real estate in Netania. “I deal with the spread of flies, odors and bugs coming out of drains, rusty TVs, and water tanks in toilets that are corroded because they aren’t in use.”

An empty freezer in an apartment in central Israel, which was vacant for almost two years in March 2022. (Provided)

According to Benson, several owners chose to unload unreachable homes, while others acquired Israeli citizenship and made another move.

Harry Sager of Mankunian said he did not intend to live in an Israeli apartment full-time, but even before the pandemic, he and his wife were in Israel almost every month to visit their two daughters.

“We were here in December, January and February 2020, but there was a lockdown in March 2020,” he told The Times of Israel. “We never had it in mind [to immigrate]But we wanted to return to Israel, and I heard people say that the way to do that is to apply for dual citizenship. “

“So we filled out the form and came out as an Israeli citizen in June 2021,” he recalled. “Since then, I’ve only returned to the UK once and I love being here.”

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