MOSCOW - RIA Real Estate. The outgoing year again turned out to be difficult for the domestic real estate market. The changed conditions for the development business, disputes over national projects, breakthrough solutions and new trends - RIA Real Estate recalls the ten main events of 2019.
Developers have switched to new rules of the game
The most significant event for the domestic construction industry was, of course, the transition to an escrow account system. Since July 1, developers have been blocked from accessing the money of equity holders, from now on they must be kept in special accounts until the end of construction.

However, the transition was smooth, and a significant part of the projects got the opportunity to be completed according to the old rules. The main criteria were the readiness of the object in 30% and at least 10% of the area sold under equity participation agreements. Of the 118 million square meters of housing under construction, 70 million square meters meet the criteria. In total, about 800 companies out of more than 3.8 thousand developers in the country have switched to the new mechanism. At the same time, the Ministry of Construction found that about 1 million square meters was in the "gray" zone, not falling under any criteria at all. At the same time, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko cited even more alarming figures - according to him, 3.5 million square meters will have to be completed with the help of the authorities in “manual mode”.

Buyers will pay extra for escrow
According to the Bank of Russia, more than 23 thousand escrow accounts have been opened in Russian banks in six months.
And already about 900, with a total amount of 1.6 billion rubles, of which have been disclosed, that is, the facilities have been completed, and the developers have received the right to dispose of the money of the equity holders. Meanwhile, developers still do not give up hope that they will be allowed to open accounts in stages, as the work is completed, but the discussion about this will continue next year.

Apparently, next year it will also become clear how strongly the reform will affect the market. Although analysts are already seeing a slowdown in activity on the part of developers. In particular, the company "Metrium" calculated that in the first three quarters of this year, 23% fewer projects went on sale in Moscow than in the previous year. The question of what the rise in prices for new buildings will be remains open. Sberbank has already noted an increase in the cost of projects, which developers compensate in prices for consumers. However, the same Sberbank revealed a tendency that projects with escrow accounts have higher sales rates than usual.

The trend for the consolidation of developers
In 2019, the consolidation of the development market in the hands of large players and the withdrawal of small companies from it continued, which was largely facilitated by legislative changes.

Thus, according to the Rating Agency of the Construction Complex (RASK), 133 developers went bankrupt in Russia in three quarters, which is comparable to the entire previous year, when 111 developers were declared bankrupt, and another 39 entered one of the stages of bankruptcy.
Among the bankrupts this year are mainly small companies that have no more than four houses in the construction, the average area of ​​which does not exceed eight thousand square meters. The main reason, according to experts, was the tightening of requirements for developers and the ban on attracting money from equity holders directly. The Ministry of Construction and the Central Bank even thought about the need to subsidize interest rates on loans to construction companies operating in small towns, however, the Ministry of Finance takes a "very cautious position" on this issue, according to Deputy Minister Alexei Moiseyev.

Bankruptcy befell 90 housing developers in three months
But the top developers were doing well. For example, the country's largest developer PIK in the first three quarters increased sales by 12% compared to the same period last year, to 156 billion rubles. During the same period of time, Samolet's indicator grew by 17%, to 33 billion, Donstroi's - by 69%, to 58.8 billion, Setl Group's - by 48%, to 79.3 billion, and Etalona "- by 26%, reaching 55.8 billion.

This year Etalon also distinguished itself by the fact that it changed owners by merging with the Moscow developer Leader-Invest. The deal took place in two stages - in February, Etalon bought 51% of Leader-Invest's shares from AFK Sistema for 15.2 billion rubles, in August - 49% for 14.6 billion. At the same time, in February AFK Sistema acquired from the family of Etalon founder Vyacheslav Zarenkov a 25% stake in the developer for $ 226.6 million. After the transaction was closed, the family retained a minority stake of 5.7%, while Zarenkov himself left the management of the St. Petersburg developer.

“Now the trend towards consolidation has begun, and if this or that company does not grow, enlarge, then its fate may be deplorable. If there had not been a deal on the acquisition of Leader-Invest, which completely closed the deficit of our new projects for the next five years, Etalon could have had problems, - Zarenkov commented then.

National Housing Project: Adjustment of Goals
Exactly a year ago, the head of the Ministry of Construction Vla

Imir Yakushev said that the national project "Housing and Urban Environment" is the most controversial of all national projects. The minister explained that, on the one hand, the industry is undergoing serious reforms, and on the other hand, the volume of construction should be increased. A year later, it can be stated: if the industry has undergone reform, then the volumes have not yet increased, and this is a big headache for the entire Ministry of Construction.

What will happen to property prices in 2020? Expert forecasts
Last year, almost 76 million square meters of housing were commissioned in the country. According to the national project, 120 million should be introduced in 2024, for this the indicators should grow annually. This year, 88 million are to be built. But already at the beginning of the year, it became clear that this figure was unrealistic and plans needed to be adjusted.

Towards the end of the year, fears began to be confirmed, and the deputy head of the Ministry of Construction Nikita Stasishin found the courage to publicly state an unpleasant fact: "We will not reach 88 million square meters this year." According to him, by the end of the year, commissioning will amount to only 75-77 million.
What he heard did not like the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vitaly Mutko. He said that today the Ministry of Construction has no reason to hope for an adjustment in the indicators.

“Don't count on adjustments. Forget it. When the president of the country corrects the indicator for you, which I strongly doubt, then you will speak. "
Vitaly Mutko
Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation
The final results will appear, as usual, after the New Year. There is no reason to hope for a miracle, unless the regional authorities begin in a hurry to massively accept housing with imperfections. In the meantime, you can make bets - will they have time to adjust the indicators, will the rotation of personnel in the Ministry of Construction continue, or will it be limited to someone's public flogging.

Uncomfortable environment
One of the key indicators of the national project is a comfortable environment in Russian cities. For it within the framework of the project "Formation of a comfortable urban environment" for the next six years will be allocated 288 billion rubles. It is assumed that by the end of 2024, the urban environment quality index will grow by 30%, and the number of cities in the country with an unfavorable environment will halve.

In 2019, more than 3 thousand Russian municipalities took part in the implementation of the project, 18 thousand territories were landscaped, including almost 13 thousand yards. True, the implementation of the program caused some comments from the Accounts Chamber. In particular, the ex-auditor Yuri Roslyak stated that the approach to it needs to be revised. In his opinion, the regions should not rely solely on federal funding, otherwise those 288 billion may not be enough.

At a time when the program was already being implemented, the Ministry of Construction decided to understand how things were going with the environment in the country. At the end of the year, the urban environment quality index was presented, which was positioned as the first in the history of Russia. The methodology for calculating the index, developed by the ministry, the company "Dom. RF "and KB" Strelka ", included several dozen indicators, including improvement, the state of public transport, road safety, the quality of public spaces.

The index showed that only 23% of Russian cities have a favorable environment. Moscow received the maximum number of points.
Soon after the presentation of the index, Mutko announced that Russia should have a minimum improvement standard for all cities. According to him, this will help increase the pace of development of a comfortable environment in the country.

Earlier, the Deputy Prime Minister also admitted that an increased coefficient may be applied when financing the northern regions within the framework of the improvement program. Such a proposal came from Andrei Chibis, who, when he was the deputy head of the Ministry of Construction, was in charge of just the urban environment, and now is the governor of the Murmansk region.

Shareholders without counting
This year, it was decided that it would be nice for the regional authorities to take part in solving the problems of defrauded real estate investors, who, according to Mutko, "handed out construction permits and created problems." He explained that issues should be resolved not only directly by the Federal Fund for the Protection of the Rights of Shareholders, but also by "mirror regional funds" in the form of public companies, so that they can take on the functions of developers of problem houses. The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out the importance of an equal approach to all regions, "so that there is no feeling that defrauded equity holders are being helped in those places who first reached the federal authorities."

By the end of the year, such funds were established in more than 30 regions.

Confused in billions: where did the money for the fund of equity holders disappear?
In total, as of December 17, 2019, the Unified Register of Problem Objects contained information on 1,049 problem developers and 3,108 houses in 73 regions of Russia. The total area of ​​the listed distressed houses is 19.089 million square meters. According to the register, 1,060 developers are problematic. As explained in the Ministry of Construction, the declarative character is now excluded.