Home Searching in Russia: Inexperienced and Trendy on the Gulf of Finland

This five bedroom villa is located in a residential complex in the village of Repino, a resort area on the Gulf of Finland in western Russia, about 32 km from the historic center of Saint Petersburg.

The modern, 8,611 square foot home was built in 2012 on a 0.91 acre tree-covered lot with a fountain, pond, pavilion, and a separate 1,076 square foot staff house.

The property “guarantees a glamorous stay near Saint Petersburg with the latest facilities and comfort,” said Filippo Mascellaro, managing director of Kensington International Group, which has a non-exclusive listing with the owner.

A 65 yard driveway leads to a paver yard at the front of the home, with a three car garage to the right of the transparent front door. Beyond the foyer, light falls through floor-to-ceiling windows into the open, double-height central hall, in which four oxblood-red De Sede armchairs ring a cylindrical hanging fireplace. The house is being sold furnished.

The living rooms are spread over three floors, which are connected by floating stone stairs with Zebrawood handrails. The wood with black, yellow and brown veins is also used for doors, the TV surround and the library on the upper floor. The walls are covered with decorative Venetian plaster throughout, and the floor is made of Italian porcelain tiles and German parquet.

Two steps further in the curved living room there is a white leather sofa and armchair in front of a wall-mounted TV, which is part of a multimedia system from Bang & Olufsen. Paintings by Viktor Anufriev, a contemporary artist from Saint Petersburg, were commissioned especially for the walls.

The kitchen has painted wooden cabinets with an opaque wine-red lacquer, matching glass, aluminum frames and artificial stone countertops. The backsplash is made of opal glass. There is a hooded hob on the center island.

Two guest rooms, one of them en suite, are located in a window corridor with a view of the terrace. Along the corridor, an indoor pool and heated hot tub are treated with silver ions and ultraviolet light rather than chemicals. The round pool room also has a bathroom and sauna and leads to the terrace and garden.

Upstairs, the master bedroom suite has a vaulted ceiling, balcony, wardrobe and a studio with an Italian desk and other furniture. Two more bedrooms on the opposite side of the upper level have their own bathroom and room-sized closets. There are trapezoidal windows that go up to the ceiling; The other includes a game room.

A billiards room, home theater, exercise room, laundry room, and storage room are on the lower level. A smart house system controls heating, ventilation, blinds and landscape lighting and offers 24-hour video surveillance.

The courtyard is accessible from every room on the ground floor. In one section, an alpine landscaping has a stream. The terrace is furnished and equipped with external heating.

A popular vacation spot that belonged to Finland from 1917 to 1948, the village of Repino is known for its wide beaches and dunes along the Gulf of Finland, as well as its restaurants, bars, shops and hotels. It takes 25 minutes to drive to downtown Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city, and Pulkovo Airport is around 45 minutes away. Moscow, the Russian capital, is 450 miles to the southeast.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, Russians have seen multiple ruble devaluations and other economic crises, which makes them suspicious of financial investments, said Nikolay Pashkov, general manager of Knight Frank Saint Petersburg. Real estate is a different matter.

“Every crisis encourages Russians to buy real estate,” said Pashkov.

This year, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated recent currency devaluation and other economic problems. “Despite the current situation, the demand for real estate in both the mass market and the premium segment was high,” he said.

Sales prices have followed. After a phase of sharp decline in 2019, the market recovered in early 2020 and the price index across Russia rose steadily in the third quarter of the year for both new and existing houses according to Moody’s Analytics.

From January to September 2020, the demand for apartments for apartments in the same period of 2019 was 7 percent and for apartments 14 percent. This year “promises to be higher than 2019 in terms of sales,” said Pashkov.

The pandemic has also sparked the desire for space and resulted in sales in the suburbs “almost doubling,” said Aleksander Ginovker, director of Nevsky Prostor Real Estate in Saint Petersburg. “The population came to the conclusion that staying in the country is good for their health in every respect.”

(As of November 30, Russia had reported 2.8 million cases of Covid-19 and 39,491 deaths, according to the New York Times’ coronavirus world map.)

In addition, transactions in the non-luxury or “regular” segment have spiked due to a government-sponsored “preferential mortgage program” with interest rates on loans cut to 6.5 percent or less – a record low for Russia, Ginovker said.

In Saint Petersburg, “severe restrictions” have been imposed on new buildings in the historic city center over the past decade, making it increasingly difficult for developers to “find and approve land for new projects,” said Pashkov. As a result, high-end projects have moved to the “gray belt” – former industrial areas outside the historic center. The new mass market projects include mixed-use developments with several apartment buildings and shops on the ground floor, cafes and schools in former agricultural areas and former industrial areas far from the city center.

“They are no longer entirely luxury apartments, but first-class apartments,” he said.

In Moscow, prices are 50 to 100 percent higher than in Saint Petersburg, although sales volumes are comparable, Ginovker said. In Saint Petersburg – home to around 5.4 million people – $ 500,000 can buy a two- or three-bedroom apartment in a new business-class residential complex on the island of Krestovsky on the Gulf of Finland. For $ 1 million, a buyer can find a three- or four-bedroom apartment in a new residential complex or a 2,400-square-foot cottage in Komarovo, a vacation village on the Gulf 27 miles from central Saint Petersburg.

“Buying real estate in Saint Petersburg is seen as a return on investment,” said Ginovker. “Saint Petersburg is one of the top 10 cities in the world with the highest growth in property prices.”

On the high end, an apartment in a “modern elite” building on the prestigious Krestovsky Island costs $ 1,300 to nearly $ 1,900 per square foot, said Irina Mosheva, managing director of Moscow Sotheby’s International Realty.

Foreign buyers are usually business people looking for apartments, Ms. Mosheva said, adding that about a third of foreigners buying property in Russia do so in Saint Petersburg.

Many buyers come from neighboring countries like Belarus and Ukraine, said Ms. Mosheva, others from Finland, Latvia, Estonia, India, Lithuania and the UK.

Buyers drawn by education, industry, science and culture employment in Saint Petersburg also come from the United Arab Emirates, France, Italy, Switzerland, Iran, China, South Korea and Vietnam, Ginovker said.

There are no restrictions on apartments or houses for foreign buyers, Pashkov said, with the exception of real estate along state lines in agricultural areas or seaport areas.

A notary or attorney is not required in completing the deal, but foreigners often keep a lawyer to assist with the transaction, especially if it is being conducted remotely.

There are no additional fees or taxes for foreigners, but there may be additional costs for a translator and notary to certify documents translated into Russian, Pashkov said.

Foreign buyers are required to provide proof of their identity, a passport, a notary-certified translation of the passport into Russian, a visa, a migration card, a temporary residence permit or a residence permit. If the buyer is married, their spouse must approve the transaction.

Russian; Russian ruble (1 ruble = $ 0.013)

Property taxes on this home are around $ 80 (6,000 rubles) per year.

Nadine lives in the Kensington International Group, 011-39-3-288-394-090, groupkensington.com

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