MOSCOW, June 2 - RIA Real Estate. The demand for rent and purchase of expensive cottages in the Moscow region during the COVID-19 epidemic more than doubled and by the end of next year the supply level in this segment may approach zero, according to realtors interviewed by RIA Real Estate.

Demand growth
According to Anna Radjabova, director of the elite real estate department at Metrium Premium, in March the number of cottage rental deals in the region increased by 70%. However, already in April, the main demand was realized - the most popular options in the budget of 200-300 thousand rubles per month were quickly found by tenants. Moreover, at the peak of demand, even those owners who had never rented housing before, entered the market, she said.

In the first month of isolation, there was a sharp jump in demand for renting houses in the budget from 250 thousand, almost all of them were rented out within a month, confirmed Sergey Kolosnitsyn, director of the residential real estate department at Penny Lane Realty.
The demand for rent was so high that the owners organized a kind of auctions among the tenants. “For example, more than ten clients watched one house. They started with 300 thousand, finished at 400, and the owner still chose from the candidates who has a suitable family composition and income. Such cases are not uncommon now, "said Ekaterina Rumyantseva, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kalinka Group.

Villas and cottages await guests
After a sharp increase in interest in renting luxury cottages, the demand for their purchase has grown. In May, according to Penny Lane Realty, the number of people wishing to purchase expensive suburban real estate increased by two and a half times compared to last year. Metrium's figures are more moderate, but they also indicate an increase in demand. “In April-May 2020, the level of demand increased by a quarter compared to the same months of 2019,” Radjabova said, noting that among expensive cottages, lots in the budget of 50-100 million rubles are most in demand.

According to Knight Frank, in the first quarter the number of requests for both rent and purchase of high-budget suburban housing doubled compared to last year. Traditionally, the western directions are in the greatest demand: Rublevskoe and Novorizhskoe highways. According to the company's forecasts, the annual sales of suburban elite real estate may be 15-20% higher than in 2019.

Who buys and why
Realtors explain that the growth in demand is associated with the desire to spend a period of self-isolation away from a large number of people, to live this time with great comfort, as well as to the closure of borders and the inability to relax in foreign resorts. At the same time, many plan to stay and live in these houses later. Such purchases are practically not considered as investments, according to real estate agencies.

“Suburban real estate is not the best way even for“ conservation ”of funds. A house on the land requires high maintenance costs, regular repairs, and even with such a demand for rent, the purchase will take too long to pay off, ”explained Kolosnitsyn.
According to him, there was no significant change in the portrait of the buyer: these are officials, and business owners, and the top management of large companies. Olga Magilina, deputy general director of the Kaskad real estate development company, noted that 18-20% of buyers of expensive country cottages are traditionally employees of government agencies, and this share has not changed. According to Rumyantseva's estimates, officials account for up to half of transactions in this segment.

Muscovites are leaving the city
At the same time, Metrium recorded a noticeable increase in regional buyers. The company explains this by the fact that the system of registration of ownership of any type of real estate has been simplified. “According to our estimates, the main share of regional buyers comes from wealthy regions, in particular, with mineral deposits,” said Rajabova.

The speed of transactions has increased
In the current situation, buyers have begun to make purchasing decisions faster. As Magilina pointed out, already in March, transactions were concluded twice as fast as usual. According to Radjabova, one of the reasons is that the number of clients is large, the chances of getting a discount today are small and buyers stop bargaining. In some cases, the value of the house rises during the negotiation process.

In addition, the scheme of displaying objects has changed. According to Radjabova, many owners prefer to shoot videos for potential buyers or tenants, some, fearing the coronavirus, temporarily take their families out of their homes in order to hold a show. As a result, the number of impressions has dropped: if previously a client could visit an object several times before making a purchase decision, nowadays one viewing is often enough.

Dear illiquid
At the same time, realtors do not yet see that objects are significantly more expensive. “They are already overvalued in most cases,” stressed Kolosnitsyn. At the same time, Radjabova notes that 

the volume of liquid supply in this market was not large even before the pandemic - about 80% of the market is accounted for by cottages built in the early 2000s, which are already obsolete.

How the demand for suburban real estate has changed
According to the director of the Est-a-Tet secondary real estate sales office, Yulia Dymova, that during the period of self-isolation, prices for some categories of suburban properties rose by 10-15%. Metrium provides statistics for the past four months, according to which the cost of elite country houses and townhouses in annual terms increased by 11% - on average to 242 million rubles.

Return of developers
According to the statistics of the consulting company Knight Frank, at the end of the quarter, less than 2.6 thousand lots were exhibited in the elite suburban real estate market of the Moscow Region, of which 77% was the secondary segment. According to the director of the suburban real estate department of the company Oleg Mikhailik, new projects have not appeared for the third year in a row and the volume of supply is decreasing: -25% in 2018; -16% in 2019; -6% in the first quarter of 2020.

Now about 570 lots from developers are on display. Of these, the consultant considers about 300 to be liquid and predicts that this volume will shrink to almost zero by the end of 2021.
In connection with the growing demand, developer interest in elite suburban projects will return, says Olga Shirokova, director of the consulting and analytics department at Knight Frank. The demand for consulting in this segment during the period of self-isolation has grown tenfold, in the next two years a dozen new projects may enter the market, she said.

This forecast is confirmed by the chairman of the board of directors of the Kaskad Family Valery Mishchenko, who said that three developers of multi-storey buildings have already contacted them with a proposal for cooperation. Kolosnitsyn also spoke about the preparation of several joint projects by Penny Lane Realty with developers: on Rublevo-Uspenskoye, Dmitrovskoye, Novorizhskoye shosse. According to him, until recently landlords tried to sell large plots of land, but there was no demand for them, but now they decided not to sell them, but to develop them.