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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

High Prices Reign in Dachaland




Dreaming of spending the summer sitting on the veranda of your (rented) dacha, luxuriously alone with the beauties of the countryside, listening to birdsong and watching the flowers grow?


Then be prepared to lose some weight around your middle - the hip pocket region to be precise.


The best things in life may be free, but the best things in dachaland are very far from it. Prices for dachas in Moscow and the surrounding region start at $1,000 a month and soar upward to $16,000, real estate agents say.


The $1,000-a-month dachas are old-fashioned Soviet-era wooden houses, says Vladimir Blumin, manager at Novy Gorod real estate agency.


The facilities at such summer cottages might be a far cry from "Euroremont" standards, but you can at least be assured of pleasant leafy surroundings, unlike some of the newer, more expensive kottedzhi where landscaping is still in its early stages, he adds. His company recently received an offer to lease a typical dacha in Peredelkino, the wooded former compound for the Soviet elite, for $1,300 per month, Blumin says.


Other agencies offer similarly expensive fare. Dacha Real Estate, part of Usadba property consultants, is offering high class kottedzhi for $1,000 to $16,000 per month. Top of the range dachas are in prestigious areas where you might find yourself hanging up your drawers next door to an oil baron's set of garden gnomes. Such delights are possible in places like Serebryanny Bor - the lakeside resort everyone who is even close to being anyone flocks to when the temperature climbs, or other elite regions like Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo, Rublyovo-Uspenskoye Shosse and Kaluzhskoye Shosse.


Yevgeny Ivanov, Dacha's managing director, says that dachas in those areas are all guarded round the clock. Despite the hefty price, elite dachas are attracting the most interest, he adds.


Down the scale a touch, $10,000 a month will land you a cottage some 28 kilometers from the Moscow Ring Road along Rublyovskoye-Uspenskoye Highway for example, Ivanov says. Such a three-story Western-style cottage would have a total area of 500 square meters, "perfect" interior design, Western-standard furniture, a sauna and a large swimming pool. A landscaped plot of 0.5 hectares and a tennis court would also be thrown into the bargain, he says.


Ivanov says the market for cottages or dachas has not shrunk as much as the market for apartments and offices. It dropped an average of 25 percent in 1999 in comparison with the first half of 1998, but this year has even seen an increase of 10 percent on the previous year.


Ivanov says the increase this year was partly because of changes in legislation on declaring taxes. More people are leasing dachas because leasing arrangements do not need to be declared under new tax laws - whereas real estate purchases do have to be declared and the tax authorities can ask you where you got the money to buy your dacha.


Meanwhile, even as more locals have been joining Dacha's client list, the number of expats on the company's books has been dwindling, with many long-term tenants walking away from their beloved summer refuges.


Other agencies are reporting that overall demand has changed very little in the dacha market. Natalya Piysikova, manager at Vilar agency, says that almost all the cottages on her agency's list have already been rented out.


Most cottages were signed out in April, ready for a move for the summer in mid-May to June, she adds.


Novy Gorod reports similar problems keeping pace with demand. Blumin says dachas were being rented so quickly this year that the agency would receive information from a landlord on a potential property, ring him to confirm - and discover he had already rented his dacha out to someone else.


This high demand means that opportunities to rent for just a weekend are few and far between. Blumin says his agency only offers this facility in the winter months. Usadba only offers weekend rental at very top of the range prices, according to Ivanov, who says he could rent out a prestigious cottage for $1,000 a day, or a more modest one for $400 per week


If all this seems beyond your wallet, you can always steel yourself for a bit of extra toil and pick up a copy of "Iz Ruk v Ruki," the daily classifieds newspaper, where you can find anything from one-room cottages with minimum amenities or less to free-standing constructions reminiscent of a standard U.S. or Australian home, with prices ranging from $100 a month (for the one-roomer) to the lower end of the estate agent market.


You can also place your own ad - for free - in the paper, either by picking up a copy or by heading to the web site (www.izrukvruki.ru). The site is searchable, although the dachas are lumped in with other residential rentals, making online searches somewhat hit or miss.