The demand has left, we have stayed at home

Спрос уехал, дома остались

Photo: Mikhail Fomichev/tass

The suburban real estate market is predicted to have hard times — lower prices, falling consumer activity and organized construction volumes. However, all this has been observed for more than a year — since the summer of 2021. There are no new cottage settlements in principle, and the “relocants”, they are emigrants, tried to sell their houses at 25-30% discounts last autumn. And unsuccessfully, since prices are still very far from affordable.

Minus another 5-10% by the beginning of the holiday season — such a cautious assessment of the situation is given by developers who have ready-made cottage settlements. Moreover, they have been standing since the summer of 2021, when an explosive rise in real estate prices, provoked by a “preferential” mortgage, stopped sales. First, they stopped buying apartments, and then houses, the cost of which was steadily rising to the price of square meters in cities.

The events of the end of February 2022 finally destroyed interest in the market of dachas and houses for residential housing, since a few days after the start of ITS construction, most of the objects were removed from display. Following the rise in the dollar, a number of sellers decided to adjust the value of the offer, the rest just took a break. And they played it out: already in May, when apartments began to become cheaper, everyone in the suburban real estate market also began to wait for prices to decrease.

It is useless to study any “analytics” from leading real estate companies, since there is no real information in it. It’s all guile. Some “studies” generally talk about price increases, however, similar deceptions also regularly appear in the cost of apartments. With an uncomplicated message — buy before it gets too expensive. And buy it from us, it’s kind of profitable. It doesn’t work anymore — the fools are gone. And fools with money are even more so.

But the autumn partial mobilization gave the market a particularly powerful kick down. Then the prices of houses, cottages and plots dropped sharply by 20-25% or more at once.

A decrease in prices is observed for those facilities whose owners have decided to urgently go abroad. Discounts reach 15-20%, in some cases — up to 30%,” says Mikhail Dolgov, head of the Kalinka Group suburban real estate department.

These figures are the average for the market, in elite areas like Rublevka it’s generally fun. Absolutely everything is for sale, discounts are almost any. But nothing is being bought. For obvious reasons. A curious fact: recently, an advertising poster appeared on Rublyovo-Uspenskoye highway, in which one lawyer offers his services — “special psychological preparation for interrogations and searches.” It is very uplifting, and, indeed, very relevant.

The problems of the Rublevsky inhabitants are of interest to the common people exclusively from this point of view, everyone is waiting for when it will be possible to stock up on popcorn and contemplate these very searches with interrogations. And not only. Unfortunately, there are no similar discounts — 50-60% or more — for “national” suburban real estate objects yet, therefore those wishing to “emigrate” from cities are waiting.

“The 2022 season in the “small town” was absolutely a failure for me, only one inexpensive cottage was sold. And the most amazing thing is in the spring — in March. Both the seller and the buyer turned out to be surprisingly reasonable and realized that the rate of 120 rubles per dollar would not last long. As they fixed the price in rubles a couple of months before, they conducted the transaction. But then everything fell apart, no one bought anything. At all. There were applications, but at prices that are not yet available. So to speak, for the future. The market has not reached these prospects by the end of the year, but the movement in this direction does not stop. The exodus from cities that began during the pandemic continues, or rather, even intensifies. But he is being held back by the collapse of the apartment market, which is now also stagnant. Basically, they sell apartments and buy houses. That is, they are trying to sell, but it’s not a problem to buy,” explains private realtor Tatyana Ivanova.

“Prices for standard-class country houses decreased by 5-10% in December 2022. In March, before the start of the season, they may decrease by up to 5%,” says Maxim Lazovsky, owner of the Lazovsky House construction company.

Or not by 5%, but more … On the one hand, there is demand, potentially it is even growing. Because cities are becoming more and more afraid every day. With due regularity, frightening data about the catastrophic deterioration of the municipal infrastructure appear. And each time the numbers are getting scarier.

“In some regions of Russia, sewage treatment plants are worn out by more than 90%. Most of the sewage treatment plants were built in the 1960s and 1970s. Both building structures and technological equipment are worn out in them,” Andrei Shevchenko, chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Federal Structure, Regional Policy, Local Government and Northern Affairs, “pleased” the citizens of the Russian Federation.

The prospects of sitting in an apartment without light, water, sewerage and heat are by no means impressive to everyone, the understanding that in a private house with a stove, well and septic tank is much more comfortable is growing. And from a security point of view, too. As a rule, the owners of country houses have legal firearms that they are ready to use in case of an attack by robbers. The bandits know this. And the concentration of migrant workers and other antisocial personalities in cities is much greater.

According to a survey by the Real Estate Market Indicators agency, in the autumn of 2022, 56.6% of respondents considered buying suburban real estate in the next year or two. A year and a half before that, in the spring of 2021, there were only 43% of such people. The welfare of the people has not increased, on the contrary, it has fallen significantly. But the desire to escape from increasingly uncomfortable cities has only grown.

“There is a desire to move out of town, and the opportunity seems to be the same. But, as it turned out, it is purely theoretical. I earn well, however, the bank did not give me a mortgage. The apartment — I have a very expensive one, on Michurinsky Prospekt, with its own parking space — cannot be sold. The bank also refuses to take it as collateral, saying that now it is illiquid. In general, I sit on my ass exactly and wait for the weather from the sea,” says Alexey, a fairly high—level manager.

An expensive apartment, indeed, is now completely illiquid. And why they refused is also clear: it is unclear exactly how much the cottage that this person wants to buy will cost tomorrow. In principle, it is unclear. After all, when there are no buyers at all, then any price tag is purely virtual.

In addition to direct refusals, banks also act by indirect methods, steadily raising the cost of mortgages. In January, the loan rates for the purchase of apartments became on average higher by 1-1.5% per annum, and even higher for suburban loans. That is, de jure from 12-13% per annum, de facto — from 15%. But most likely they won’t give it at that price either. For the above reason.

This is the other side — the desires of citizens do not coincide with their capabilities. Therefore, prices for cottages, cottages and plots for residential housing will continue to fall. Which, apparently, will only accelerate. The same processes that are observed in urban real estate.

It is curious that the trade in houses in the outback has somewhat revived — in the villages of Tver, Yaroslavl, Ivanovo and other regions. The prices there are quite “below the baseboard”, and a strong warm hut with a working stove and a large plot of land can be bought for absolutely nothing. They are bought by the same citizens who did not have enough money for a cottage in the suburbs. As the happy owners of the village property explain, “just in case.” Yes, such cases, indeed, are now, alas, not excluded.

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