— The housing bubble may have burst here in the United States, but home prices are still heading higher in one unlikely location: the Gaza Strip.
Gaza, a tiny finger of land sometimes referred to as the world’s biggest prison, is home to 1.6 million people packed in a mere 140 square miles, about the size of the city of Seattle. While many live in squalor, land is at a premium, and as a result there are some choice properties that command suprisingly high prices, according to a report on Marketplace, the syndicated public radio show.
Reporter Reese Erlich found one three-bedroom, two-bathroom house that was about to be listed for $900,000, according to a real estate broker.
“You have a great view of the Mediterranean,” said the broker, Essam Mortja. “The whole world wants to own property here. It's clean and safe. It's the best neighborhood in Gaza.”
The whole world, perhaps, apart from residents uncomfortable with the possibility of Israeli bombings or invasions, which periodically occur in the Jewish state’s ongoing fight against what it deems Palestinian extremism.
Another businessman who recently spent $1 million for a lot in Gaza City told Marketplace that real estate prices have gone up 20 percent over the past year.
But the report noted that homeownership is little more than a dream for most in Gaza, where the median income is $800 per year.