Moscow Property Market and Real Estate Guide

(Moscow, Central Federal District, Russia)

Aerial view of MoscowThe global city of Moscow, capital of Russia, is Europe's largest metropolitan area. Set on the Moscow River, it is a world economic centre, has a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Kremlin, and is home to the largest concentration of billionaires in the world.

This busy Russian city has an excellent transport system, with four international airports, nine rail terminals and the Moscow Metro, famous for its spectacular stations. Until 2008, this was actually the most expensive world city for foreign employees. Even now, setting up home in this city is a pricey prospect.

The city has ten administrative districts, with those expats who can't afford the central areas residing in residential districts to the north and east, and properties varying from apartments of all sizes through new-build to upscale homes. The housing market is fairly new, as during the Soviet era all properties were state-owned.

Prices rose considerably until 2008, then crashed along with the stock market, but are now rising again. Investing at present is not recommended by online property investment guides, since yields from rental properties are only averaging at five percent.

Location is all-important, as Moscow districts vary in terms of facilities, friendliness, cleanliness and safety, with the cheaper areas usually less costly for a good reason. High-end properties in the most expensive areas close to the centre can easily run to seven-figure sums, with prices quoted in US dollars.

Renting Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartments in Moscow, usually in the city centre, are easily available. Extended stays are cost-effective, saving at least 30 percent on a comparable hotel room. Long-term stays net the best discounts, but may require a deposit.

Facilities include free Internet access, English language satellite TV, free local phone calls and in-room office equipment, as well as standard amenities. Upscale apartments with superior facilities are available from several Western-owned companies.

Buying Apartments and Houses

Moscow property prices are among the highest in Europe. In the central districts (where many foreigners live), such as Tverskaya, Arbat, Patriarch's Ponds, Kropotkinskaya, Ostozhenka and Zamoskvorechye, prices for all types of property are very high, due to heavy demand and limited supply.

There are no restrictions in Russia on foreign purchase of real estate, although the procedure can be complicated and professional help is essential in order to minimise risks to the buyer. No property purchase tax is charged, and residential property taxes are low.

The history of the property must be verified, as property laws have changed several times recently. The buyer is expected to cover all closing expenses, including notary and state registration fees. Final payment is normally made in cash through an escrow arrangement with a Russian bank. Wire services may be acceptable, but are riskier.

Real Estate Agents

A number of real estate agents operate in the city, with many speaking English. Some realtors also offer a useful property finder and advisory service to incomers who are strangers to the city and its districts.

Check out the following Moscow real estate agents:

Intermark Savills
Address: Kropotkinsky Per.7, Bld.1, Moscow, 119034, Russia, RU
Tel: +7 0495 775 22 40
This agency is a leader in Moscow and offers full relocation services.

Evans Property Services
Tel: +7 0495 232 6703
This realtor has an extensive and informative website covering all aspects of relocation and offers a full orientation service to incomers, including guides and city tours.

Stratus Realty Group
Address: Zubovsky Boulevard 4, Suite 322, Moscow, 119021, Russia, RU
Tel: +7 0495 637 7891
This group has offices in Moscow, New York and London, and deals with upscale properties, offering a full service.