Property News

Russian’s still big spenders!

Russian’s are still big spenders when it comes to real estate and football clubs.

Billionaire Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev has bought a majority stake in AS Monaco.

The seven-time French champions are in the second division but Rybolovlev has pledged to invest at least 100m euros (£84m) over the next four years.

"I am a passionate football fan," said the 45-year-old.

"I think this club has enormous potential. I hope it can now realise this potential, both domestically and in Europe."

The Russian, who is ranked 93rd on the Forbes list of billionaires, has acquired 66.67% of Monaco.

He sold his stake in fertiliser producer Uralkali for $6.5bn (£4.1bn) in June 2010, his net worth is estimated at $9.5bn (£6.1bn), and he bought American businessman Donald Trump's Palm Beach mansion for $100m (£64m) in 2008.

Rybolovlev's daughter broke New York real estate records by paying $88m (£56m) for a Manhattan apartment. Yekaterina Rybolovleva, 22, paid the asking price for the property on Central Park West.

Overall, the U.S. housing market may have failed to dazzle in 2011, but this year did mark a new record in luxury real estate.

In February, a 25,500-square-foot mansion in Los Altos Hills, Calif., sold for $100 million, the biggest known sale of a single-family home in the U.S.

The seller, Fred Chan, who founded ESS Technology in Fremont, Calif., helped finance the deal by extending a $50 million loan to the buyer, Yuri Milner, the Russian-born founder of Digital Sky Technologies.

This was also the year Candy Spelling sold her 14-bedroom mansion—on the market since 2008 for $150 million—at a discounted price of $85 million to Petra Ecclestone, the 22-year-old daughter of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone.

“Prices have come down [over the past few years], so it’s an opportune time to buy,” says Philip A. White, president and chief operating officer of Sotheby’s International Realty.

Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman must agree, as he is launching a real-estate fund that will focus on distressed properties from Boston to Miami, in the latest example of a deep-pocketed foreigner placing some chips on the U.S. real-estate market.

Mr. Fridman, who founded the Russian financial-industrial conglomerate Alfa Group, is part of a venture that plans to invest in properties with a total value of about $1 billion, he said in an interview. Most of the money in the fund will come from Mr. Fridman.

The venture will focus on major East Coast markets in the US.

Russians are the most likely buyers of top end and distressed real estate in the US and American realtors and developers should take note.