The falling ruble drove Russians into real estate

Break this trend may increase the cost of mortgages.
Housing developers in Moscow on the background of the fall of the ruble and changes in the rules of the game on the market faced the unconventional activity of buyers for August, raising the prices in response to an average of 1-3%, some - by a third. But experts do not expect that sales growth will become a trend, as it will prevent a possible increase in mortgage rates. As a result, prices may start, on the contrary, fall, down to a decrease of 20%.

The data of developers show a serious increase in demand for housing in August. Thus, LSR Group, according to preliminary estimates, sales increased by 57% in relation to August 2017 in all regions of the company's presence (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg). In the MR Group portfolio, the number of transactions increased by 98% on average in the portfolio, at some sites the company stopped selling for revaluation of the value.

The other players have more modest results, although the trend is obvious. PIK reported an increase in sales of 7-10% with an increase in prices by 5-10%. In FGC "Leader" they sold 14% more than in August 2017, in "Krost" - by 10%. In Level Group projects, the dynamics are uneven: in business class projects there was a twofold increase in sales compared to July, and in comfort-class residential complexes - by 20%. According to calculations of the managing partner of "Metrium" Maria Litinetskaya, the average prices for the market grew by 1-3%.

All the developers interviewed by Kommersant say that the activity of buyers was uncharacteristic for August, when traditionally there is low demand. "Growth shows the anxiety of buyers and the reluctance to postpone the purchase of housing for the fall", - said the marketing director of FGC "Leader" Ksenia Tsaplina. According to Maria Litinetskaya, in July-August, the decision period for the deal was noticeably reduced: if this is usually a month and a half, then this summer the buyers had only one or two weeks.

In LSR, the change in sentiment is associated with expectations of rising house prices due to the changes in the main industry law that came into force and the volatility of the ruble that appeared in August. Even within the framework of discussions on amending the federal law on shared construction (Federal Law No. 214), developers warned about a possible increase in prices for apartments in new buildings up to 15%. The ruble appreciated significantly against the dollar on August 10, when the dollar was worth 66.2 rubles, and on the eve - 63.6 rubles. Since then, the dollar has risen in price: according to the Central Bank, on September 7 the rate was 68.4 rubles. According to Marina Lubelskaya, the deputy general director of Krost, against this background, real estate has again become a profitable means of saving. Developers do not exclude that buyers were in a hurry because of a possible increase in mortgage rates.

However, independent analysts are more cautious in assessments. Alexei Popov, the head of the analytical center of CICA, believes that the sales results indicated by the developers do not add up to the trend: "According to preliminary data, in August 8-9% more share participation agreements were registered than in July, and in August 2017, for example, this month was 27%. " According to the expert, in August the dollar went up not so noticeably as in April, when the rate rose from 57.6 rubles. up to 64 rubles. But then there was no sales boom. "A possible increase in the key rate of the Central Bank and, accordingly, mortgage rates seriously began to speak only in the first week of September," he clarifies.

Alexei Popov is convinced that developers still have to feel the effect of raising rates on mortgages. Now for the sale of housing with the involvement of a loan account for up to 70% of transactions. "Changing the rates and conditions of issuance will significantly affect the activity of buyers," he believes. General Director Level Group Kirill Ignakhin does not exclude that the average discount size will grow if buyers become more reserved. Now it is about 5%. According to Alexei Popov, from the beginning of the year, discounts on housing fell by 2-3 percentage points. Calculations of developers are individual, the expert adds, but they can reduce prices by 20% without going beyond the minimum margin.