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Capital Markets

Russia: Pendulum swings again for real estate

Volatile, opaque market makes for rollercoaster ride; Structural demand/supply levels give grounds for hope

Respect property rights’
Police detain a man protesting against the demolition of houses at a rally in Moscow in February. Critics say the sudden demolition demonstrates the unpredictable application of property rights and lack of legal transparency in Russia. The banner reads: ‘Respect property rights’

Given that Russian real estate went from boom to virtual bust in a twinkling of an eye in 2008/09 – wiping out billions of dollars of equity investments in the process – it’s perhaps startling to see that some market participants are already characterizing the sector as one of the leading high-yield plays on economic recovery in the country. But with St Petersburg-based developer LSR Group preparing to launch a secondary share placement that could raise as much as $500 million as Euromoney went to press, the pros and cons of the Russian property markets are set to swing back firmly into focus.

Cynics would no doubt claim that any rehabilitation of the much-maligned Russian property market is a classic example of a pump and dump investment banking strategy.

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