The Ministry of Finance is reporting a decline in the number of real estate transactions in Israel performed by foreign residents, especially in Natanya, but over the last few months the market has departed from the norm.
Last month a French buyer purchased an apartment using the Facetime app, which enables iPhone users to conduct video conversations. The apartment in question was bought from a local seller and occupies the second floor (third in US terminology) of a seven-story building on Hativat Givati St. in the Nof Galim neighborhood of Natanya. The apartment has been extensively renovated, and covers 130m² with a 10m² balcony facing the Mediterranean. It was sold for NIS 1.9 million.
“Communication with the client was accomplished online via Facetime and Skype,” recalled real estate agent Haviva Hen of Home in Israel Real Estate Company. “the moment the client reached the decision to buy, they instructed their lawyer to prepare a contract. The next day the family’s representative came to Israel to move the deal along, a deal that was signed within a week.” According to Haviva Hen, the buyers are a 60-year-old couple who wish to have a place to live when they emmigrate.
It should be noted that this is the second purchase by foreigners via smartphone apps. Six months ago a similar transaction took place in which an American used an online app to negotiate the purchase of a residence in the Tzuk HaShomera project – marketed by the Shikkun UVinnui Co. from Home In Israel – for NIS 3.5 million.
“These kinds of deals,” explains Haviva , “are becoming more popular, among both Israelis and foreign residents. Foreigners are limited in their ability to visit sites physically, or to view an apartment, while Israelis take advantage of the online realm to learn as much as possible about the property before visiting. The use of such software enables us to enjoy a high level of efficiency and access to as many target audiences as possible in the shortest time.”