OPP has obtained exclusive data from the biggest property portal in Russia, Prian.ru, which reveals which countries were the most popular with the growing buyer market this summer.

The portal told OPP that interest for overseas property is rising fast in Russia as domestic house prices continue to climb and more countries streamline the visa and buying process for Russian citizens. Prian.ru analysed over 400,000 searches made via its site from July to August 2008 for OPP.

Bulgaria has topped the list of Russian online searches via Prian.ru, with 15.16% of all traffic. The portal believes this drop in activity surrounding Bulgaria is down to the increasing effort of other destinations in marketing their properties to the buyer market. Finland (7.78%) was the nearest competitor to Bulgaria, followed by Germany (7.27%), Spain (6.5%) and the USA (5.09%). Popular markets such as Turkey (3.09%) and Cyprus (2.19%) were out of the top 10 most sought destinations at 11th and 15th place respectively.

The pattern displayed by the Prian data correlates with figures obtained by OPP from Russian classified advertising website Rambler. It revealed that listings from Bulgaria (1,360), Cyprus (191), Spain (95) and Montenegro (65) dominated its site and that actual searches for property closely followed this trend. From July to August 2008, Rambler recorded 14,327 searches for Bulgarian property, 2,929 for Cyprus, 2,127 for Montenegrin property and 538 searches focused on Spain.

Mikhail Kelim, head of Prian.ru, told OPP that as the Russian buyer becomes more ‘educated’ in different overseas markets, their buying patterns will follow suit.

“The top ten countries from our data only covered around 60% of all searches,” he explained. “The remaining 40% are spread out through various markets. Bulgaria is still the leader, but Russians are becoming increasingly interested in other countries as well. For example, Cyprus didn’t make it into the top 10, while other ‘exotic’ countries such as the Dominican Republic have broken into the top 20.

“Demand for overseas property is changing slightly, partly due to seasonal changes, but mainly because the Russian buyer is becoming more educated. They are reading analytical articles, checking out market situations and are not just buying because the country is cheap or fashionable to do so. For example, the mortgage crisis in the USA has made American property more desirable to Russians that are interested in premium property at cheap prices. We have also noticed a growing interest in Hungary and Israel.”

Top 10 most popular country searches among Russian overseas buyers

1. Bulgaria – 15,16%
2. Finland – 7,78%
3. Germany – 7,27%
4. Spain – 6,50%
5. USA – 5,09%
6. Czech – 4,55%
7. France – 4,33%
8. Italy – 4,11%
9. Egypt – 3,76%
10. Montenegro – 3,29%
Source: prian.ru and Opp


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