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The latest bubble: Real estate in Russia

Still a draft,

From Barnaul, Siberia, Russia

Inna, 28, is a high-school teacher, she has one child. Her monthly salary is 8’500 Russian Rubel, about 257 USD. Similarly as many state employees her salary is very low. Recently the state doubled the salary of policemen and soldiers from 20’000 RUB to 40’000 RUB. A main reason was that many policemen thought about leaving their job, after the FSB agents, the omnipresent local secret service, started stronger corruption controls especially on traffic police. The second salary for the traffic police in form of traffic fines is now nearly abolished.

Inna’s husband is a crane operator, his salary in the private sector, is higher, 22’000 RUB, 670 USD, a bit above the median salary of 20’000 RUB in the capital of the Altai Region.

Two years ago they bought a two-rooms flat for 1.3 Mio. RUB, the cheapest one they could get in Barnaul, in an old communist housing block. Their parents helped to pay down 500’000 RUB, 15’150 USD, the interest rate for the 800’000 mortgage was 12% floating. Their combined monthly salary was not high enough for the bank, like many Russian home buyers they had to fake the pay slips in order to reach the 33%, 35.000 RUB, 1.060 USD  salary threshold needed to afford the 11500 RUB, 348 USD monthly rate. For Inna’s family

Prices of imported goods like electronics or clothes, are often higher in Barnaul than in Europe or the US, only local food is somewhat cheaper. A haircut costs about 250 RUB, 8 USD, a taxi to the centre costs around 150 RUB, 5  dollars. Restaurants or hotels are unaffordable for locals due to high real estate prices.

In the early 1990s the Russian state offered to many families the once state-owned flat in which they were living. Since then flat prices have risen about 300-500% in real terms, a yearly rise of 12% after inflation. According to Lloyds, Russia is after India the country with the strongest price increase since 2001.
In 2012 a model for widows of war veterans followed. The state financed a flat for them.

According to Western real estate prices are crazy. After the financial crisis, however, the picture changed. Prices collapsed.

 

Since Mid 2011, house prices have started to recover.

George Dorgan
George Dorgan (penname) predicted the end of the EUR/CHF peg at the CFA Society and at many occasions on SeekingAlpha.com and on this blog. Several Swiss and international financial advisors support the site. These firms aim to deliver independent advice from the often misleading mainstream of banks and asset managers. George is FinTech entrepreneur, financial author and alternative economist. He speak seven languages fluently.
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