The northern Israeli city of Ofla is set to expand significantly in the coming years after the Northern District Planning Committee approved a proposed proposal Plan of last month to a series of new neighborhoods with more than 9,000 residential units, commercial spaces, offices, public parks and supporting infrastructure.
The new neighborhood will be built at the northwestern entrance to the city on approximately 1,550 dunams (383 acres) adjacent to the train station, and will consist of residential buildings of four to seven storeys and mixed residential-commercial towers of between 11-14 storeys. and 16-18 stories. Of the residential units, 1,920 will be small apartments of up to 80 square meters (861 sq ft), of which there is a national shortage.
As well as new homes, the plans approved in mid-January include 85,000 square meters (914,930 sq ft) of commercial space, 151,000 square meters (1.6 million sq ft) of offices, 97,000 square meters (1 million sq ft) of public buildings ), and 320 dunams (79 acres) of open space, including a new city park covering 70 dunams (17 acres).
A train or metro system has also been promised to run along this central axis and connect districts of the rapidly expanding city, which has been dubbed the “capital” of the Jezreel Valley.
Once known for offering affordable housing compared to other parts of Israel, Afula’s housing prices have increased in line with national growth. However, property tax records from the past few months show that a three-room (two-bedroom) apartment can still be bought for under NIS 1.5 million ($433,210), while the average property price in Israel is now NIS 1.9 million ($548,700). ) Is ).
A five-room (four-bedroom) apartment in Afula regularly sells for up to NIS 1.7 million ($491,000).
Renting a three or four room apartment in Afula is also cheaper than anywhere else in Israel. Such places typically ask for around NIS 3,000 ($870) per month, according to properties advertised on the online rental platform Yad2.
As well as new neighborhoods, major urban renewal plans are underway for older parts of the city, where 20-storey towers will be introduced, using the Pinui Binui (Evacuation and Rebuild) framework to upgrade existing low-rise buildings. To use.
The project is part of an overall masterplan for Aufala, approved in April 2022, which will add approximately 63,000 housing units to allow the city to accommodate 200,000 residents by 2040, up significantly from 56,000 today.
Afula grew significantly in the early 1990s as it welcomed immigrants from countries of the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, and has doubled its population since 1995.