Daily Israel Report

Israelis Plunk Down Cash for US Real Estate

Has US real estate hit rock-bottom? Even if not, Israelis, viewing it as good avenues of rental income, are its second largest buyers.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/25/2011, 11:30 AM

Has US real estate hit rock-bottom? Even if not, Israelis, viewing it as good avenues of rental income, are the the second-largest buyers of American property, according to a survey commissioned by Globes.

Israelis bought $1.15 billion in income-producing properties in the United States in the 12-month period ending last month.

Among the buyers were empires headed by private billionaires, such as Nochi Dankner, and enormous business and public conglomerates, including Koor Industries.

Canadians were the only group of foreigners who topped Israeli purchases of 36 properties, mostly high-rise offices and shopping malls.

One of the most prominent investments was the $330-million purchase by Dankner of the American headquarters of HSBC, located in Manhattan, where a return of approximately 4 percent on investments is far higher than the near-zero interest rate.

The Azrieli Group bought a Houston office building for $176 million, and Israel’s Property and Building bought Barney's store in Chicago for $121.5 million. After the survey was completed, it also paid out $187million for another building in Chicago.

One notable seller has been Lev Levayev, whose troubled Africa-Israel Investments sold Manhattan properties at a loss.

Israel’s favorite locations for residential purchases were Manhattan and Florida.