Is buying a property on Churchland worth it?

Givati Law


If you’ve been exploring real estate opportunities in Jerusalem, you’ve likely encountered properties that seem almost too good to pass up, especially considering their price point. This may be due to the fact that these properties, located in certain highly sought-after areas – predominantly in Jerusalem – are what’s known as “Churchland”. Historically owned by the Greek Orthodox Church, Churchland is nestled in the heart of this ancient and revered city and has recently undergone a significant transformation, presenting both risks and opportunities for potential buyers.

Traditionally, Churchland operated under a lease arrangement, with the Greek Orthodox Church owning vast swaths of land leased to the government, and subsequently subleased to residents. However, a seismic shift occurred when the Greek Orthodox Church made the decision to sell these lands to private companies. This decision marked a turning point, as new owners sought to maximize their investments, leading to a series of negotiations and developments that have reshaped Churchland’s landscape.

The transition from church ownership to private investment has introduced uncertainty to the market, but also potential for significant returns. Companies eager to capitalize on their acquisitions have devised strategies to entice current residents into purchasing the ownership outright to their apartments instead of waiting to the end of the lease period. At the same time, these companies are also harboring ambitious plans to transform Churchland into a modern urban center akin to Manhattan. Yet, amidst these plans, negotiations have reached a standstill. They have requested large payments to purchase the rights entirely, and as a result, the recommendation by the government body who leased the land from the Church is to hold off as they believe they are asking for too much. There may also be the potential option for the government to renew the lease for an additional period (many of the leases are up in the 2050’s), leaving the future of Churchland uncertain and its real estate market in a state of flux.

For those considering investing in Churchland, the allure lies in the possibility of substantial returns. Discounted prices offer an attractive entry point into one of Israel’s most sought-after cities and areas, albeit with the caveat of navigating ongoing negotiations and uncertain developments. The duration of the lease is also a crucial factor to consider, as it can significantly impact one’s decision-making process. Ultimately, the decision to invest in Churchland hinges on weighing the potential returns against the associated risks and considering the length of the lease agreement.

If you are considering purchasing a property on Churchland and have any questions, feel free to reach out to us to discuss the risks and implications. 

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