- Gold for Bulgaria as Russians become its largest source of overseas buyers (Idinaidi)
- Turkey attracts second largest number of Russian buyers, thanks to 3.6% projected growth in 2014 (EBRD)
- Spanish property searches are up by 55% in the last month (Idinaidi)
While the media’s focus has been on those being recognised for their sporting prowess in Sochi, Russia has been creating an entirely separate table of global winners through its citizens’ overseas property interests. So which countries are the biggest winners?
Taking home the gold – Bulgaria
Located almost directly westward across the Black Sea from Sochi is Bulgaria. Nearly 350,000 Russians are estimated to currently own properties in Bulgaria and the number is estimated to be growing by around 10% each year.
Carlo Walther, COO of Russia’s fastest-growing property portal, Idinaidi, comments, “Bulgaria has been attracting Russian interest in its property market for some time, to the point that Russians are now the main source of overseas buyers in Bulgaria. Real estate there is still fantastic value, making it a popular choice with buyers with budgets typically around €60-70k.
“Bulgaria is also close enough to Russia that those buying properties there can benefit from easier access to home than from many other countries. We’ve witnessed a snowball effect there in recent years – as increasing numbers of Russians have bought property there, even greater numbers have been begun to view Bulgaria as their destination of choice, encouraged by the strong community ties that exist there.”
For the silver – Turkey
Long established as Russians’ favourite holiday destination when it comes to holiday homes overseas, Turkey has become increasingly popular with Russian buyers in recent years. With beautiful scenery, hot summers, mild winters and easy access to the sea from pretty much anywhere in the country, Turkey is perhaps unsurprising in its popularity. As with Bulgaria, it benefits from close proximity to Russia, making it popular with those whose budgets are less eye-watering than London’s Russian millionaires.
Property in Turkey is cheaper than in many parts of Russia and the cost of living is low. While the super-rich may be enjoying their view of the Thames or Central Park, many Russians with more modest expenditure limits are looking to take advantage of the capital gains made available by a growing economy (EBRD’s latest Regional Economic Prospects report has projected 3.6% growth for Turkey in 2014). The enhanced prestige of owning a second home abroad is also not lost on many of the Russians who are looking to Turkey as their preferred overseas location.
In bronze position – Spain
A little further afield, Spain has captured the attention of Russians looking to take advantage of its sun-drenched location, depressed property prices and golden residence programme. Carlo Walther explains, “Spain is seen as enticing to many Russians due to its ‘golden visa’ arrangement, which permits non-EU citizens to obtain residency for themselves and their immediate family in return for investing a significant amount of capital.”
Searches for Spanish property are up by 55% in the last month, demonstrating the Iberian country’s importance in the eyes of Russians looking for second homes or for a permanent residence in Europe.
And the runners up are…
According to Idinaidi, a number of other overseas locations are also popular with Russian buyers, including Greece and Montenegro.
Comments Walther, “The overseas property market has been attracting Russian attention for a number of years and we’ve found that Idinaidi’s overseas listings are particularly popular with those looking to buy a second home in the sunshine, as well as with Russians who are planning to emigrate.
“Though the oligarchs may be grabbing the headlines with the vast sums they are prepared to pay in cities like London, Paris and New York, the real story is that of the hundreds of thousands of middle-income, budget-conscious Russians who are snapping up bargains overseas in places like Bulgaria, Turkey, Spain, Greece and Montenegro.”
So while the Sochi Winter Olympics and Paralympics continue to gather momentum, it’s clear that Russia will go on producing winning countries long after the closing ceremony draws to an end.
For more information visit Idinaidi at www.idinaidi.ru.