Staying Ahead of the Property Market in Times of Crisis

The shift in the economic landscape has changed our priorities and it is difficult to be indifferent to the challenges that we meet each day. For those of us receiving salaries in rubles, we fear that our holiday, shopping and housing plans could melt away with the snow.

It is possible, however, to change our outlook and view the crisis as an opportunity for positive change.

We are seeing an increase of up to 15 percent in the supply of properties on the residential rental market. Stagnation in the residential sales market (forcing some property owners to move their properties to the rental market) and company cost cutting measures (reducing the number of prospective tenants entering the rental market) are contributing factors to this. With a greater number of options available, which is in turn affecting the rental pricing of some properties, there has never been a better time to take advantage of the market.

Your first course of action might be to consider re-negotiating the terms of your currently rented property. Tenants now have greater influence in the negotiation process with their landlords and are often able to agree terms that are more favorable. We are working with several private and corporate clients to assist them with this process and we are achieving successful results. It is important to note however that landlords are aiming to manage their currency risk and an increasing number of rental agreements are being agreed in dollars. In January, approximately 60 percent of the total number of transactions concluded by IntermarkSavills were signed in dollars under the rate of the Central Bank. However, at the end of 2008 the share of such contracts was approximately 5 percent.

If you fail to reach an agreement with your landlord you might consider moving to a new property. Moving can be stressful, however, with a great team helping you every step of the way, and the potential for an improvement in your financial position as well as your lifestyle, it is certainly something you might wish to consider. If you assumed that a 3-bedroom apartment on Patriarchs Ponds was out of reach you may now find that it is a more realistic possibility than you had thought.

Perhaps a move to a house in countryside community would be more appealing. We are now able to access availability in expatriate favored compounds that boast excellent amenities and are in popular locations. Luxury houses from private Landlords are increasingly coming to the market too. For example, a house of 200 square meters, 10 kilometers away from MKAD can now be rented for approximately the same price as a 3-bedroom apartment in the city center. It may prove to be a perfect solution for a family with children or couples who are tired of the stresses of the city.

Nevertheless, quality apartments in sought-after city center locations continue to be very much in demand and in some sectors demand for such properties continues to outstrip supply. Availability of apartments or houses which meet the full spectrum of preferred criteria such as an elite building, designer western renovation, modern appliances, professional security and a good view from the windows continue to command a premium and can often be difficult to find. However, by engaging an experienced and pro-active agent it is possible to be the first to access these properties, some of which might not be openly available on the market. This will enable you to secure that illusive dream property.