Russian Buyers of international real estate: who, what, where?

Russian Buyers of international properties? Who are they? What do they buy and where? Why are they interested in purchasing real estate in foreign countries? Russian analytical portal Real Estate Indicators IRN made an attempt to explain the Why in their report on how much more of a house one can buy abroad for a price of a Moscow apartment (all basic prices are as of the end of the 2022, with its pandemic and sanctions by the way).

(Some examples: for the price of a small, rather old and very modest apartment in need of renovation, and not in the best city area of Moscow, one can buy a luxury furnished one-or–two-bedroom in a newly-built complex with a pool and other resort amenities, with a sea view and close to the beach, in Bulgaria, Egypt or Turkey.

For the price of a good, though not so big apartment in one of the best areas in Moscow, one can buy a much bigger apartment or even a house or townhouse in a luxury segment, on the seashore in Montenegro, Thailand or UAE.)

Of course, the usual reasons for any real estate investing as capital growth, saving for retirement, getting rental income, etc. are also working for Russian investors.

Russian investors – who are they?

Real estate agencies, developers and private sellers in many countries are trying to win attention of Russian investors. The market players are eager to know – who these Russian investors are and what kind of properties they are interested in.

To tell the truth, this market is hard to classify in general – so many various types of properties in so many countries are interesting for Russian investors, plus the interest changes with time and world’s political events.

Actually, various countries of the world may have various profiles for the potential Russian Buyers in each country, depending on attractive for Russians features of the country, typical properties for sale, real estate prices, rules and laws of owning real estate, entering and staying for Russians.

We can only acknowledge that wealthy Russians are mostly interested in international luxury properties, while middle class Russians are looking for affordable condos and homes up to EUR 100,000. Even an average retired Russian person who has rather limited resources can afford to buy a property abroad if he sells his Russian home or condo.

Thus, Russian Buyers for international real estate properties exist in a luxury segment and in a budget one, too.

Also, Russian-speaking people from countries like Ukraine, Belorussia, Kazakhstan and other countries where Russians live, may be counted in the same groups as Russians from Russia – they use the same sources of information on the Russian internet and more often than not have the same preferences in international properties.

What do they buy?

Russians buy various international properties for various purposes:

-Vacationing with families in resort areas

-Investment for future property’s price growing 

-Rental income from the property (residential and/or commercial)

-Retirement for themselves or parents

-Immigration with families or getting a second passport for traveling

-Other personal reasons

Russian Buyers purchase homes, apartments (condo) and commercial properties.

In 2022-2023 the number of inquiries from potential Russian investors has been increasing in comparison with 2021 - many online sources state so (Russian real estate portals, analytics, and local media in some countries – and you may look for my overviews in English about some countries of the Russian interest at Free Newsletter in the menu on the left).

Where do they buy?

I started following the Russian Buyers’ behavior in international real estate markets some 15 years ago and can definitely say that many changes have happened over this period in terms of geography of Russian demand and interest.

Some foreign countries can come on top of the radar of Russian investors, then go down letting other countries to lead the demand. Lately the problems with Covid-19 and sanctions have changed the scenery a lot again.

Let’s look at the dynamics over the years (from some reliable online sources). The top 5 countries in demand from Russian Buyers:

2008-2009: Bulgaria, Germany, Finland, Spain, USA

2010: Italy, Bulgaria, USA, Czech Republic, Spain

2012: Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Montenegro

2015-2016: Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, Greece, Italy

2021: Spain, Montenegro, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus

2022: Turkey, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Spain, UAE

So, you see that the list of foreign countries in demand from Russian investors has been changing – especially in the course of the pandemic and sanctions, due to all the latest restrictions, rules and limitations. Some countries have disappeared from the top, some have climbed up, and some stay more or less on top in spite of anything.


Olga Kellen

Olga Kellen, 

"Anything Russian",
English - Russian Translator,
Associate member of ATA,
American Translators Association

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