Real Estate In Brief

Mortgages Up 160% in '07

Mortgage lending rose 160 percent last year, bringing the total to 611 billion rubles ($25 billion), Vedomosti reported last week, citing the Central Bank.

Sberbank and VTB Group, the country's first- and second-biggest lenders, respectively, saw their share of the total rise to 70 percent from 55 percent, said Vasily Belov, general director of mortgage brokers Fosborn Home, the newspaper reported.

The mortgage market will more than double this year to 1.33 trillion rubles, Georgy Ter-Aristokesyants, the vice president of VTB retail division VTB-24, told the newspaper. (Bloomberg)

Goldman Sachs' $4Bln Fund

Goldman Sachs is set begin investing in Russian development projects and is creating a $4 billion real estate investment fund for Brazil, Russia, India and China, Kommersant reported last week.

The company, whose worldwide real estate investments total over $23 billion, is planning to invest half of the fund in Russia, several investment bankers told the newspaper.

Industry sources said they had been unofficially informed that about two-thirds of the funds intended for Russia would be invested in Moscow, with the rest going to St. Petersburg and other cities with populations of more than 1 million, Kommersant said. (MT)

Russia Relatively Insulated

LONDON - Property markets in Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic are "next in line" to be hurt by the global credit crunch, but real estate in Russia is relatively insulated, Morgan Stanley said.

In research published last week, analysts advised investors to position "for a tough year" by "overweighting" Russian property stocks, such as AFI Development and RGI International. They underweighted Orco Property Group Sand Global Trade Centre, which were heavily exposed to property developments in Central and Eastern Europe. (Reuters)