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Russian overseas investments in real estate still falling

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New data published by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation show that overseas remittances for real estate purchases are still shrinking. The total volume of transfers was down 30% year-on-year, checking in at just USD 199 million, compared to USD 281 million in Q1 2015. This marks a new low for Russian overseas property investments since records first started in 2009, after just USD 178 million left the country between January and March.

«Overseas investments into property are nearly three times lower than the peak of 2014. Not only is the volume shrinking, but so are buyer budgets. On the other hand, we have noticed stable activity in cross-border transactions for investment property, particularly in terms of income-generating buy-to-let residential and commercial premises. The main trend that has emerged is the intensification of Russian corporate investment activity focused on development projects», explains George Kachmazov, managing director of Tranio.com, an overseas property broker.

It is worth noting that the figures only account for personal transactions, meaning that most commercial property purchases are not included because they are commonly handled by businesses and often paid using funds that are already held abroad. It is therefore widely believed that the actual investment volume is superior to these estimates but still follows the current dynamics highlighted by the report. However, there may be a glimmer hope on the horizon. Even if foreign real estate transfers shed 9% quarter-on-quarter by Q1 2016, the overall total of cross-border remittances gained 9%, rising from USD 5.8 billion to USD 6.4 billion.

Investments spiked in 2014 before the economic downturn and oil slump caused the ruble to plummet against the US dollar and Euro. Since then, overseas property purchases have been drying up and even if the price of oil has picked up, it will take longer for Russian residents to recover financially. As of March 2016, the main investment destinations for Russian individuals purchasing overseas property were Switzerland, the UK, Latvia, the USA, Cyprus and Germany.

Yulia Kozhevnikova — Tranio.com

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