Have you ever bought or sold a house or a condo in America? If yes, then how many 5 inch stacks of $100 dollar bills were involved, and how many years were you required to wait between the purchase and moving in? If you can't answer these very simple questions, you are not ready for the Russian real estate market.
The hottest market is, of course, Moscow and its suburbs. The prices for a condo range anywhere between $60,000 for 400 square feet on the outskirts (a few hours from downtown) to tens of millions of dollars. Houses start at about $200,000 even 30 miles out of the city (which can be a three hour commute one-way), they become closer to 3-5 million dollars towards the city, and having a house in the city, or in a nice setting right outside of the city limits can cost as many zeros as you can imagine.
The rent for the apartments within the city limits in downtown area will amaze even New Yorkers. Just follow this link and see how much you have to pay for a 400-600 square feet studio or one bedroom apartment ($1,000-3,000). The prices you see on the websites are in American dollars.
Houses in Russia these days are built without any modesty, and they can imitate French castles, Italian villas, glass and metal artistic objects, etc. The waterfront legally can't be private, but try to argue with the guards, securing the yachts by the villas armed with submachine guns. Security for such houses costs anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000 a year.
This post is not spontaneous, because a few days ago the first arrest of a building company executive took place. Mr. Nazim Darimov was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and has lived and practiced business in Russia for 25 years. His company "Print Capital" received many awards as a leading builder of condos and apartment buildings. Mr. Darimov himself is a very popular character back home, in Azerbaijan; he was even spoken of as a possible nominee to run for Prime Minister in Azerbaijan, due to his extended connections in Moscow. However, he refused, there's just too much money to be made in Moscow for him to worry about things back home.