Kiryat Shmuel is a charming Jerusalem neighborhood that is centrally located between Rechavia to the north, Talbieh to the east, and Katamon and the German Colony to the south. Kiryat Shmuel’s easy access to so many parts of Jerusalem makes it the perfect community for many Israelis and overseas buyers.
Kiryat Shmuel’s land was initially purchased by a charitable fund in 1906, and in 1929 the neighborhood was officially established and named in memory of Rabbi Shmuel Salant. Rabbi Salant, Jerusalem’s Ashkenazic chief rabbi for almost forty years, was a renowned scholar and decisor of Jewish law, and helped establish many famous Jerusalem educational and medical institutions.
Kiryat Shmuel was an important strategic military location during the formative years of the country: first to defend Jews against the Arabs’ riots in 1928 and 1936-39, and later during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence when the nascent Israeli army battled the Arab forces that were based in Baka, Talbieh and the German Colony.
Kiryat Shmuel offers its residents excellent access – whether they are traveling around town or are heading out of town. It also offers its residents numerous shopping and cultural attractions. It is near the Jerusalem Theatre and the president’s residence, and is within short walking distance of the famous Emek Refaim restaurant row in the German Colony and the lovely hotel district in Talbieh. Though Kiryat Shmuel is nestled between Rechavia and Talbiyeh, its real estate prices are somewhat lower. It is understandable why apartments in this neighborhood are in demand, as one can get good value for their money.
The neighborhood is comprised primarily of dati leumi (national religious) and secular Jews. Many of its residents work in Hebrew University’s nearby Givat Ram campus, the Israel Museum, the Supreme Court and the Knesset. Kiryat Shmuel has four main synagogues which cater to different age ranges; the highly respected Rav Jolti is the rabbi at Congregation Ohel Rivkah and is the community’s official rabbi.
Writing this article reminded me of my first transaction, the sale of a lovely three-bedroom unit in Kiryat Shmuel. I will share with you the story as the message is invaluable. The seller was informed by a real estate agent that her apartment was worth 1,900,000 shekels. I thought that the price quote seemed a bit lean and I offered to do some research and give her an opinion of value. After reviewing recent comparable sales in the immediate vicinity, I prepared a one-page property valuation, which concluded with the following sentence: “I would recommend an asking price of 2,950,000 NIS, and would expect to receive 2,500,000 NIS (and hopefully up to 2,700,000 NIS).” Five weeks later, we signed a contract at 2,670,000 shekels.
This anecdote is not unique, as I experience this story in different permutations – sometimes from the buyer’s side and other times from the seller’s side – multiple times a year. The message to buyers (and sellers) is clear: hire an honest and knowledgeable agent who will ensure that you are paying a fair price for your apartment.