Where are the Russians running?
I have promised you to carefully watch the pulse of the Russian buying market of real estate abroad and that is what I do. I have been fiercely searching for some recent stats totaling the trends in this market and it is not that easy to find... Some publications say that Russian buyers have disappeared, some others state various percentages of their numbers lowering, and some say they do not feel any changes. I guess they are all talking about the Russian buyers' behavior in their local real estate markets. It is very useful to know for those local sellers and realtors of course, but what is going on in general? What are the prevailing trends? What to plan for if you are interested in selling to Russians?
There is an article Where are the Russians running? in the business Russian magazine Sekret firmy, the name of which would be something like Insider's secret if loosely translated into English; it is answering our questions, and here is a short English version of it for your information below.
The Central Bank of Russia reports that in 2014 the amount of transfers for buying real estate abroad by Russian citizens was about 5% lower than a year before. It seems like not too much, but it is for the first time after 6 years of only growing. At the same time the report states that during 2014 all the capital money moved out of the country in the amount of more than 150 billion dollars is twice as much as the year before.
So, we can conclude that under the circumstances of the falling ruble and continuing sanctions against Russia there are probably fewer middle-class Russian buyers who saved for a vacation home abroad, but more of Russian investors in international real estate whose goal is to receive income in foreign currencies.
The stats from one of the major Russian real estate portals Tranio prove this trend: now the portal receives more inquiries about income producing properties in Germany, Austria and Switzerland than before. These are not cheap countries, but apparently the Russians have the money to buy over there. The thing is that many serious people saved in foreign currencies, not in rubles, so they are not affected by the weak Russian currency. Also the portals sees the growing number (1.5 times) of requests for properties in the countries where Russian citizens can get residency rights, in comparison with a year ago.
The Russian buyers who are still looking for vacation homes abroad combine the two goals: to have a place for their family now and to effectively invest money for the future, so they look not only for the lovely environment for vacationing, but also for liquidity and potential asset price growing for their investment.
The article comes to the following conclusion: if there is no sudden change in the political and economic situation in Russia, then the number of Russian buyers of international properties for a pure goal of vacationing will continue to go down, but the number of Russian buyers on the look-out for solid investment opportunities abroad will grow; prices for elite properties inside of Russia will keep going down.
Hope this idea of showing that your property in its local market is a good investment (if it happens to be so) will help in creating the effective marketing plans if you want to sell to Russians nowadays.