Buying real estate in Israel as a foreigner?

We've created a guide to help you avoid pitfalls, save time, and make the best long-term investment possible.

Buying property in Israel as a foreigner: a full guide

Last updated on 

All sources have been thoroughly verified for credibility. Furthermore, an industry specialist has reviewed and approved the final article.

buying property foreigner Israel

Everything you need to know is included in our Israel Property Pack

Israel, with its breathtaking views, rich cultural history, and welcoming people, draws in many foreign investors looking to purchase real estate.

Yet, understanding the complexities of buying property in a foreign country can be difficult, particularly when it comes to the legal framework and regulations.

That's why this guide is here to help! We'll explain how the property market works in Israel in an easy-to-follow manner, giving you all the information you need.

Also, for a more in-depth analysis, you can check our property pack for Israel.

Can you purchase and own a property in Israel as a foreigner?

If you are American, we have a dedicated blog post regarding the property buying and owning process in Israel for US citizens.

As a foreigner interested in buying real estate in Israel, you have a good range of options, but there are some specifics to be aware of.

Firstly, in Israel, land ownership is typically divided into two categories. State-owned (which constitutes the majority of land) and privately owned.

As a foreigner, you can purchase both types. However, a large portion of the land is state-owned and is usually leased rather than sold outright, typically under long-term leases of 49 or 99 years.

While you won't "own" the land in the traditional sense, you'll have a long-term lease, which is practically akin to ownership.

Your rights as a foreign property owner are quite similar to those of Israeli citizens. The main distinction lies in the purchasing process, which might be more thorough for foreign buyers. This means you could face more in-depth background checks and possibly a longer process.

Generally, there aren't significant differences based on your country of origin. The primary distinction is between foreign and local buyers.

However, it's always wise to check if there are any specific agreements or regulations between Israel and your home country that might impact your purchase.

You don't need to be a resident of Israel to buy property there, which is great if you're considering an investment or a second home.

However, if you're planning on moving to Israel, owning property can be part of your residency considerations.

For the most part, buying property as a foreigner doesn't require special authorization from Israeli governmental institutions. The transaction is mainly handled through real estate agents and attorneys.

There isn't a specific minimum investment required for foreigners purchasing property in Israel. The investment will depend on the property's market value and your budget.

Can you become a resident in Israel by purchasing and owning a property?

If you're considering purchasing property in Israel with the hope of gaining residency, it's important to understand that Israel doesn't currently offer a direct real estate investment program for obtaining residency.

Unlike some other countries that have specific investment or "golden visa" programs, Israel's approach to residency and citizenship is different and generally not tied to real estate investment.

In Israel, residency and citizenship are typically based on factors like family connections (the Law of Return for Jewish people), employment, marriage to an Israeli citizen, or long-term visas for specific purposes like study or work.

Owning property in Israel, while it can be a good investment and provide a base in the country, doesn't in itself grant you residency rights.

If you're keen on gaining residency in Israel, you'd need to look into other avenues.

For example, if you're Jewish or have Jewish ancestry, you might be eligible for residency under the Law of Return.

Gaining a work or study visa can be a step towards residency. If you have family members who are Israeli citizens, you might qualify for residency through family reunification.

The duration of residency depends on the type of visa or permit you obtain. It can range from temporary (like student or work visas) to more permanent forms.

As for citizenship, typically, you'd need to reside in Israel for a certain number of years, demonstrate knowledge of Hebrew, and show integration into Israeli society. Citizenship is a separate process from residency and has its own requirements and procedures.

While owning property won't give you residency, it can be a part of your overall plan if you're pursuing residency through other means.

Having a property in Israel might support your case for residency by showing ties to the country, especially if you're applying for residency on other grounds like business or personal connections.

Thinking of buying real estate in Israel?

Acquiring property in a different country is a complex task. Don't fall into common traps – grab our guide and make better decisions.

buying property foreigner Israel

Market indicators

You can find fresh and updated data in our pack of documents related to the real estate market in Israel.

By taking a closer look at the GDP per capita indicator, it becomes apparent that Israeli people have become 9.9% richer throughout the past 5 years.

Actually, this rise in population wealth has the potential to stimulate the demand for real estate, which may translate into price increases in the future.

Looking at the data reported by Numbeo, we can see that residential properties in Israel offer yields between 1.3% and 4.0%.

These minimal rental yields typically indicate that the rental income generated from local properties is relatively low compared to the property's market value or the amount invested in its purchase.

To know more, you can also read our dedicated article: is it a good time to buy a property in Israel?

Daily life of an expat

Life as an expat in Israel can be very rewarding and enjoyable.

The country is full of vibrant culture, amazing food, and beautiful landscapes. There is a strong sense of community and social interaction among expats, and many of them have been living in Israel for many years. The cost of living is also relatively low, making it an attractive destination for those looking to move abroad.

On the other hand, there are some challenges that come with living in Israel as an expat. Many expats face language and cultural barriers, and some may struggle to find work that is suitable for them. Additionally, the political and security situation in Israel can be unpredictable and at times volatile, so expats should be aware of the risks associated with living in such an environment.

Overall, life as an expat in Israel can be very rewarding and enjoyable, but it is important to be aware of the challenges that come with it. Expats should research the country thoroughly before moving, and be prepared to face any potential risks that come with living in such an environment.

What are the best places to purchase a property in Israel?

This table summarizes some of the best places to buy a property in Israel.

City / Region Population Average Price per sqm (ILS) Strengths
Tel Aviv ≈ 450,000 40,000 - 60,000 Financial and cultural center, vibrant nightlife, Mediterranean beaches
Jerusalem ≈ 900,000 25,000 - 40,000 Historic and religious significance, diverse neighborhoods, cultural heritage
Haifa ≈ 280,000 15,000 - 25,000 Port city, technological hub, scenic views, mix of cultures
Herzliya ≈ 100,000 25,000 - 40,000 High-end residential area, beaches, marina, tech industry presence
Raanana ≈ 80,000 20,000 - 35,000 Suburban living, high quality of life, international community
Eilat ≈ 50,000 15,000 - 25,000 Tourist destination, Red Sea beaches, diving, resort town
Ashdod ≈ 220,000 15,000 - 25,000 Port city, beaches, growing population, cultural events

Do you need a lawyer to buy a property in Israel?

When purchasing a property in Israel, engaging a local lawyer can be crucial in navigating the legal requirements and ensuring a successful transaction.

One crucial document they can assist with is the Purchase Agreement (Shtar Hashba'a), a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller that outlines the terms and conditions of the sale.

The Israeli lawyer can also help with conducting a Property Title Search (Ikkar Zechut Be'alut), to verify the property's ownership status and identify any potential legal issues or encumbrances.

Moreover, they can guide you through the process of obtaining necessary permits and approvals, such as approval from the local Land Registry or relevant authorities.

They will ensure that all applicable taxes and fees, such as the Property Purchase Tax and Notary Fees, are paid correctly and in compliance with Israeli laws and regulations.

What are the risks when buying real estate in Israel?

We've got an article dedicated to the risks associated with purchasing property in Israel.

1. Political and Security Risks:

Israel's geopolitical situation and ongoing regional conflicts can create political and security risks that may affect the property market. Buyers should consider the potential impact of political events, security threats, and military activities on property values, rental income, and overall stability in the region.

2. Land Ownership and Settlements:

Israel has complex land ownership issues, particularly in relation to settlements in the West Bank. There may be legal and political controversies surrounding properties located in or near settlements. Buyers should seek legal advice to ensure a clear understanding of the legal status and potential risks associated with purchasing properties in these areas.

3. Building Permits and Zoning Restrictions:

Obtaining building permits in Israel can be a lengthy and bureaucratic process. Zoning restrictions and planning regulations may limit the ability to develop or renovate properties. Buyers should carefully review the property's zoning status and understand the restrictions and potential challenges they may face in making changes to the property.

4. Leasehold Land and Long-Term Leases:

In Israel, leasehold land is common, particularly for properties located on land owned by state authorities or institutions. Buyers should carefully review the terms and duration of lease agreements, as well as any potential risks or limitations associated with leasehold properties, such as lease renewal terms or restrictions on alterations and subletting.

5. Cultural and Religious Sensitivities:

Israel is a country with diverse cultural and religious communities. Buyers should be sensitive to cultural norms and local customs, especially when purchasing properties in areas with a significant religious or cultural presence. Understanding the local dynamics and respecting the sensitivities of different communities can contribute to a smoother property ownership experience.

6. Water Resources and Water Rights:

Water scarcity is a significant issue in Israel. Buyers should consider the property's access to water resources and understand the water rights associated with the property, especially in agricultural or rural areas. Understanding water usage regulations and potential limitations can help avoid future water-related challenges and ensure compliance with local regulations.

7. Evacuation and Security Costs:

In certain areas of Israel, particularly those close to borders or conflict zones, additional security measures and evacuation plans may be required. Buyers should assess the potential costs associated with implementing security measures and obtaining adequate insurance coverage to mitigate risks and ensure the safety of the property and its occupants.

8. Absorption Rates and Market Volatility:

Israel's real estate market can be influenced by factors such as changes in government policies, economic conditions, and immigration patterns. Buyers should be aware of the potential for market volatility and fluctuations in property prices. Understanding absorption rates and market trends in specific locations can help buyers make informed decisions and manage investment risks.

real estate Israel

Everything you need to know is included in our Israel Property Pack

What are the documents needed for a real estate transaction in Israel?

When buying a property in Israel, the following documents are typically required:

1. Sale Agreement (Kesef HaChazaka) – This is the agreement between the seller and the buyer, which outlines the details of the purchase.

2. Power of Attorney – This document is required if the buyer is not in Israel at the time of the purchase.

3. Payment Receipt – This document is issued by the seller’s lawyer, and acts as proof of payment for the purchase.

4. Lease Agreement – This is the agreement between the buyer and the tenant, which outlines the terms of the lease.

5. Certificate of Registration – This document is issued by the Israel Land Registry, and is used to register the property in the buyer’s name.

6. Property Tax Receipt – This document is issued by the Israel Tax Authority, and is used to prove that the buyer has paid the property tax.

7. Insurance Policy – This document is issued by an insurance company, and is used to insure the property against any potential damage.

We review each of these documents and tell you how to use them in our property pack for Israel.

What are the key steps to develop a successful negotiation plan with Israelis?

Here is a list of recommendations when you negotiate a property deal with a local in Israel:

  1. Build personal connections: Israelis value personal relationships and trust. Take the time to establish a friendly and authentic connection with the seller, showing genuine interest in their background, culture, and experiences.
  2. Direct and assertive communication: Israelis tend to have a direct and assertive communication style. Be clear, concise, and straightforward in expressing your intentions, expectations, and terms during negotiations.
  3. Flexibility and creativity: Negotiations in Israel often involve flexibility and creative problem-solving. Be open to considering alternative solutions or compromises that can benefit both parties.
  4. Prepare for negotiations: Do thorough research on the local property market in Israel, including current prices, market trends, and relevant regulations. This knowledge will empower you during negotiations and help you make informed decisions.
  5. Engage professional assistance: Consider hiring a reputable local real estate agent or lawyer who specializes in property transactions in Israel. Their expertise and knowledge of local practices can be invaluable during negotiations.
  6. Negotiate in good faith: Israelis appreciate honesty and transparency in negotiations. Conduct yourself with integrity and be prepared to back up your offers and proposals with solid reasoning and evidence.
  7. Respect cultural sensitivities: Israel is a diverse country with people from various cultural backgrounds. Be mindful of cultural sensitivities and demonstrate respect for different traditions, customs, and perspectives.
  8. Written agreements: Ensure that all negotiated terms and conditions are properly documented in written agreements. Seek legal advice if needed to ensure that the contract is clear, comprehensive, and protects your interests.

Can foreigners obtain a bank loan in Israel?

Yes, foreigners can obtain property loans in Israel. The Israeli banking system allows non-residents to apply for property loans, subject to certain conditions and requirements.

Getting a property loan in Israel as a foreigner may require a valid residence permit, proof of income, and meeting the criteria established by the lending institutions in the country.

Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, and Mizrahi Tefahot are among the Israeli banks that are capable of providing mortgages to non-residents.

Finally, please note that with mortgage rates between 2% and 6%, Israel's current lending rates align with the average range observed globally.

What are the taxes related to a property transaction in Israel?

Here is a breakdown of taxes related to a property transaction in Israel.

Tax Description Calculation Who pays
Capital Gains Tax Tax on the capital gain on the sale of a property 25% on the net capital gain (the difference between sale price and acquisition cost) Seller
Rental Income Tax Tax on rental income generated from the property 10% on their gross rental income Owner
Purchase Tax A tax imposed on the purchase of real estate property A progressive rate of 0% to 10% depending on the property's assessed value Buyer
Value Added Tax (VAT) Tax on the sale of newly built properties 17% of the property sale price Buyer

What fees are involved in a property transaction in Israel?

Below, you'll find a list of fees involved in a property transaction in Israel.

Fee Description Calculation Who pays
Real Estate Agent Fee Fee charged by real estate agents for their services Between 2% and 4% of the property sale price, shared between the buyer and seller Seller and Buyer
Registration Fee Fee paid for registering the property transfer with the Land Registry Office Typically around 0.2% of the property value Buyer
Legal Fee Fee paid to lawyers for legal assistance and document preparation Varies between 1% and 2% of the property value, shared between the buyer and seller Seller and Buyer

Buying real estate in Israel can be risky

An increasing number of foreign investors are showing interest in Israel. However, 90% of them will make mistakes. Avoid the pitfalls with our comprehensive guide.

buying property foreigner Israel