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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Service Registers Growth of Apartment Sales in Moscow

While statistics show apartment sales on the rise, industry players say the numbers are only a mirage and Moscow’s real estate market is still very much in the doldrums. There were 34 percent more sales transactions registered for Moscow apartments in the second quarter  than in the first quarter, according to the Federal Registration Service.

During the same period in 2007, apartment sales rose 21 percent, with 13,681 transactions registered in the first quarter and 17,364 in the second quarter. In 2008, the agency began using a new system for registering transactions, making it impossible to compare last year’s data with 2007 transactions. But there were 26 percent fewer transactions in the second quarter of last year than in the same time period in 2009.

Transactions are down this year because of fewer mortgages being given to prospective buyers, said Ilya Zibarev, deputy head of Alfa Bank’s retail business division. There were only 1,937 mortgages extended in the first half of 2009, while 6,121 were extended for the same period last year, he said. Without taking mortgages into account, the reduction in apartment sales from the first half of last year to the first half of 2009 would only be about 11 percent.

In the second quarter, the number of legally registered mortgages was 40 percent higher than in the previous quarter. However, in absolute terms, this increase is really not all that much — 727 in the first quarter compared to 1,210 in the second.

“Since March 2009, we have seen a positive trend in both apartment and mortgage sales. Month after month, their numbers have steadily risen,” says Alexei Shlenov, head of MIEL-Brokerage. The slight reduction in June apartment sales is an expected one that occurs because of the May holidays, he said.
“However cold the market may be, there are potential buyers who need to settle matters of house and home,” said Dmitry Kuznetsov, general director of MIAN. Previously, alternative deals for real estate amounted to only about 60 percent, while now they account for up to 90 percent, said Inkom’s Dmitry Taganov.

Kuznetsov said even the most liquid apartments have been staying on the market longer.