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Russia’s mortgage market: Securitization is no longer a dirty word

Russia’s flourishing mortgage market is the next big opportunity for the country’s securitization market. Jethro Wookey reports from Moscow.

EARLIER THIS YEAR, rating agency Moody’s Investors Service published a report on the growing importance of securitization in Russia and other emerging European markets. "As the popularity of securitization continues to sweep across Russia," it read, "the government has indicated its intention to continue developing legislation and regulations that would simplify the securitization process." This support from the government is critical to the impressive growth of securitization in Russia.

President Vladimir Putin’s target is for one-third of Russians to own their own homes by 2010, and his government has been active in reaching that goal. Renewed state investment in housing has been made a national priority. The mortgage market has taken off, growing at well over 100% a year. The need to finance these mortgages is pushing the next step in the development of Russia’s securitization market. "When it became clear that mortgage lending was something the country desperately needed, the potential for a huge mortgage market was obvious," says Michael Strange, director of financial institutions securitization at Barclays Capital. "The demand and the origination infrastructure were there, it just needed financing."

The Agency for Housing and Mortgage Lending (AHML), which operates a Fannie Mae-type model in Russia and was established by the government to encourage the mortgage market in the primary and secondary markets, priced its first public MBS transaction in May, arranged by Citi.

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