Russians Invest in Real Estate to Shield from Falling Ruble 

The crash of the ruble last month has led many Russians to buy real estate in a bid to protect their money, and a 31% rise in apartment sales in Moscow was observed last month, Reuters reported citing the country’s cadastre office.  

A total of 14,801 sales of already built apartments, the so-called secondary market, were agreed in Moscow in March, up about a third from February and an increase of 13% from a year earlier, the federal service for property registration, Rosreestr, said on Tuesday.

The ruble hit a four-year low last month after the collapse of a global oil deal sent oil prices into a tailspin and amid overall risk aversion as the coronavirus spread worldwide.

“Buyers sought to buy real estate amid currency fluctuations,” Igor Maydanov, head of Rosreestr’s Moscow office, said in a statement. Moscow, with nearly 13 million inhabitants, is Russia’s top real estate market.

Sergei Bessonov, vice-president at Russia’s biggest bank Sberbank, one of the top players in mortgage lending, said the secondary market provided more security for investing funds as flats are finished and ready to be inhabited.

On the primary market where the property is still under construction, deals rose in March by around 13% from February, Bessonov said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Maria Litinetskaya, managing partner at Metrium, one of the biggest real estate companies in Moscow, told the news agency that people also feared the rouble’s fall would trigger an increase in mortgage rates and wanted to buy property before that happened.