Today’s news is buzzing with reports of
Prices for flats have more than doubled in the past year and the average cost per square metre is about ?2,700 and rising by the day. A modest city centre flat is now hard to find for less than ?190,000, a big price when you consider that the average national wage is ?170 per month and the average monthly
wage about ?350. Moscow
Ordinary Russians are embracing mortgages (albeit with interest rates well above 10 per cent) in order to get a foot on the property ladder before it is too late and are rushing to put their names down for apartment blocks that have yet to be built in an attempt to avoid seemingly unstoppable inflation.
Cranes labour over Moscow’s skyline day and night and immigrant workers from across the former Soviet Union toil on building sites for poverty-line wages as developers try to snap up more and more land to cash in on the boom.
There are not nearly enough good quality flats to go around and prices seem set to rise even higher. Indeed buying a flat in the Russian metropolis is now just a dream for many young Muscovites, who can only rent rooms in rundown flats in the city’s concrete suburbs in Soviet-era tower blocks.
People desperate to get a foot on the property ladder resort to desperate measures; the media often carries stories of contract killers hired to bump off flat owners, of elderly people tricked out of their city centre apartments, and of apartment blocks burnt down “accidentally” to force people to sell.
Renting in the centre of
is also too expensive for many. Western companies regularly shell out more than ?5,000 per month in rental costs for their employees and it is hard to find anything decent for less than ?1,000 per month. Hotel prices in Moscow are also higher than anywhere else in the world. Moscow
The average room rate is ?165 per night, thanks to the city’s bizarre strategy of knocking down large cheaper Soviet-era hotels and replacing them with exorbitantly priced, Western-style four- and five-star hotels, while making no provision for anyone on a more modest budget. Visitors to
are therefore forced to choose between slumming it in a hostel or living it up at the Metropol. Moscow
The Mercer’s report should be taken with a slight pinch of salt, however. It was primarily drawn up to help multinational companies decide how much to pay their expatriate employees posted abroad.
The final note is an interesting tidbit. As news agencies quickly churn out the news about
The rise of