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Selling to Russians News: What countries Russian buyers preferred in 2012
January 15, 2013

Hi Everyone,

What countries Russian buyers preferred in 2012

Real estate department of the leading Russian media holding RBC researched this as best as they could and came up with a report - originally in Russian. I am translating the most important parts for you here. (It is impossible to congregate all the data on properties bought by Russians in all foreign countries, that is why the researchers relied on the data of one large real estate company in Russia selling foreign properties over there with some additional comments obtained from other sellers and considered the data representative enough to come to conclusions)

Volatility of stock and currency markets, Euro zone crisis and talks of the second wave of the world financial crisis made Russians to place their investments in Russian and international real estate.

In what countries did Russian buyers prefer to buy properties in 2012?

It is a common knowledge that "Russian" investments in international real estate are various at various markets: from a small condo for 35,000 Euro in Turkey to a mansion for tens of millions Euro in London, Paris, French Riviera or Geneva. Nevertheless, more and more Russians are interested in international real estate investing.

Monaco instead of Bulgaria

In 2012 Russian buyers became less interested in inexpensive properties in Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Montenegro, although Bulgaria is still the #1 country for Russian buyers. More interest has been shown for countries with more stability like the USA, Germany, Monaco, etc.

Also Russian buyers are more interested in European countries that offer a possibility of living there in the property owned, like Slovenia, Latvia, Spain, etc.

Where to live abroad and where to invest

In 2012 Russians bought properties for their own use in the following countries:

1. Bulgaria

2. Spain

3. Montenegro

4. Germany

5. Latvia

6. Czech Republic

7. USA

8. Italy

9. France

10. Cyprus

In 2012 Russians bought properties as investments in the following countries:

1. Germany

2. Great Britain

3. USA

4. Switzerland

5. Austria

6. France

7. Czech Republic

8. Latvia

9. Israel

10. Italy

We can see the difference between the two ratings of countries for Russian buyers (for own use and as investment) that is actually easy to explain. Buying homes for themselves Russians pay attention to cultural closeness of a country, easy to travel there and get visas, possibilities to live in their foreign homes for extended period of time. Obviously, these criteria are quite different from those that investors are seeking for. That is why Russians buy for their own use properties in Bulgaria, Montenegro and Spain, but Russian investors do not consider these countries at this time.

London, etc.

If we are talking about exclusive properties for millions of Euro, the trend is the same as in the last several years – the most popular among Russian buyers is London followed by the South of France, Switzerland and Italy.

In the premium districts of London from 2/3 to 3/4 of all purchases are made by foreigners. London properties are some sort of the most valued currency in the international world of real estate.

Russian oligarchs also buy in France, Switzerland and Italy, but London is their preferred destination.

The most interesting international real estate purchases and events in 2012

The 22-year old daughter of Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, Ekaterina, bought a New York Central Park West 4-bedroom penthouse for $88 million which makes $140,000 per sq. m. The previous owner was the former Citigroup Chairman Sanford Weill.

The most expensive new construction in New York, One57, priced over $100,000 per sq. m., is already getting lots of attention from Russian buyers as realtors say.

Although the French government increased taxes on luxury properties, Russians still buy in France. Aleksei Kuzmichov, one of the founders of Alpha Group in Russia, just bought a luxury property in the VII district of Paris, near the Eiffel Tower.

Spain is going to let buyers of properties that cost 160,000 Euro or more live in their Spanish homes. This price is comparable to a studio apartment in Moscow.

Greece is going to sell some islands to get out of debt.

Hope this info can be helpful in your marketing to Russian buyers.

To your best business success,


Olga Kellen,
"Anything Russian",
English - Russian Translator,
Associate member of ATA,
American Translators Association
Author of the e-book for realtors
Selling to Russians

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