Can Foreigners Legally Own Real Estate In Russia?

The simple answer is “Absolutely!”.  It’s sometimes surprising to me how often I hear the question of whether foreigners can buy real estate in Russia.

But there are also many other questions that arise, such as whether it is possible for foreigners to secure mortgages towards their real estate purchase in Russia.  The quick answer on that is, yes it is also possible.

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Some real estate in Russia will surprise you as it breaks some of the stereotypes you might have, like this modern loft-style apartment in Moscow, in the Paveletskaya neighborhood.

I recently made a quick and simple video about foreigners owning real estate in Russia for the Expat Flat Facebook page.  Check it out, and then let’s look at some of the details of buying real estate in Russia.

Now, let’s look through some of the details:

Mortgages

It is possible for foreigners to secure mortgages in Russia.  Generally speaking, you will need to prove a steady official income.  And in most cases, you will need a down payment of 10-20%, depending on your official income within Russia.  The annual interest rate is usually in the 8-9% range.  It is best to find a reputable mortgage broker or real estate agency to help you in this process.  I also recommend only working with major banks, because as a rule of thumb they are less likely to nickel and dime you with the small print.

Save serious money by buying an apartment in a building that is under construction.  The “Dvizhenie” apartment complext at Spartak metro station has been popular among Moscow expats due to its location and pricing.

Commercial Property

If you are looking for real estate investment opportunity in Russia, I would strongly recommend that you also consider looking at commercial property options.  The return can be higher than residential real estate.  And you can hire a property manager to take care of all of the details, so that you can live your life comfortably either in Russia or abroad.

Office FOR SALE in the “Moskva-City” business district.

Quite often, commercial property that is for sale already has a long-term reliable tenant, so that you can be immediately guaranteed a continuing source of income.

Of course, there are many types of commercial property in Russia.  I highlighted some office space, located directly across the street from the Kremlin, in this video:

Land

As with all the points in this post, there are plenty of exceptions.  But as a foreigner you can also own land in Russia.  I personally own a few small plots of residential land.  And I think this can be one of the most intriguing options if you are in Moscow long-term on a budget or in a smaller city around Russia.

In the Moscow region, for example, it is possible to buy a piece of land and build a small, simple house, for less than what you would pay for an apartment purchase in Moscow, provided you have time to do much of the process work yourself.  Of course, if you are new to Russia, you will most certainly want a reliable partner to help you through all of the building process and red tape.  Hiring someone reliable will save you money… and stress!

Here’s a residential piece of land for sale just past Vnukovo airport.

 

Residential Property

In most cases, the simplest thing to do is buy an apartment.  The process is simple, but again, it is strongly recommended to hire someone to work with you, and to make sure that all of the documentation is correct and above board, and to help you analyze the best deals on the market, and perhaps offer a few options that you might not have thought of before.

Property Taxes In Russia

This is where things get interesting.  The property tax is shockingly cheap, but most importantly, Russia changed the law on real estate sale for non-residents at the beginning of 2019.  This is important because in the past, there was a heavy tax on the sale if you were not a resident of Russia at the time of the sale.  But now, with the changes in the law, if you have held the property for five years or more, there is ZERO tax in Russia on the sale.  This is important to understand if you are looking at being in Russia long-term and want to avoid paying rent, or if you are looking at investment opportunities.

Have a question for Andy about investing in real estate in Russia?  Contact Andy with this form, or use the chatbox on the bottom of this page!

 

Expat Flat founder Andy Frecka is a native of Ohio in the USA and together with his wife and four children has made Russia his home for the past 20 years.  Andy’s mission is to offer you a Western-style and English language real estate service at local Russian rates.  Andy looks forward to discussing with you how you can reach your real estate investment goals in Russia!

 

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This blog post was originally featured on Planet Russia.

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