Real estate market accumulates a record stock of apartments

Only 34% of the housing under construction in Tatarstan has been sold

Real estate market accumulates a record stock of apartments
Photo: Реальное время

The primary real estate market began to stall after the almost paralysed secondary housing market in the first quarter of 2024. According to realtors' estimates, a record volume of unsold apartments has accumulated in Tatarstan today. The main reason is the high key rate. At the same time, the tightening of preferential programmes is also putting pressure on the market. Whether a fall awaits the developers that they have been forecasted since the beginning of 2022, or the developers will be able to ride out a steep dive — in the review of the analytical service of Realnoe Vremya.

Demand for new buildings is declining

“In absolute terms, we see a record increase in the volume of unsold square meters in Tatarstan," said Anastasia Gizatova, the head of Schastliviy Dom real estate agency. According to the analysis of the Ministry of Construction of Russia, 2.9 million square meters are being built in the republic. They say that only 34% of them have been sold.

As of May 1, 2024, the volume of unsold housing in new buildings in Tatarstan is not decreasing, Gizatova emphasises.

“If the developer has ill-conceived layouts, unergonomical apartments with a large space or a location not to everyone's taste, then it will be more difficult to sell apartments," she forecasts. In her opinion, there are several reasons: Tatarstan residents have become less active in buying real estate, but developers are still actively launching new projects and queues.

“If we look at the level of sales of housing under construction, depending on the time of commissioning of an apartment building, we will find that a third of new buildings have not been sold in houses that are to be commissioned in 2024, in 2025 their share is already 70%," Anastasia Gizatova gives an example.

The situation promises to improve in the coming months, as the fear of cancellation of preferential mortgages and changes in the family programme will push people to buy, and in May-June this pressure is going to increase. “But since July, we have been in for a deep drop, even if all programmes are extended," predicts Gizatova. “This will be especially evident against the background of record mortgage disbursements in previous years.”

“Ready-made apartments with furniture will soon be offered, as in Turkey and the UAE”

In fact, not everything is so terrible: the market, on the contrary, is now becoming more balanced. According to Etazhi Development's analytics, new buildings in Tatarstan are being sold even faster than necessary. “Three-year stocks of unsold housing are sold in two years," emphasises Marat Gallyamov, the founder and director of Etazhi-Kazan real estate agency.

With a balanced market, the stocks of housing under construction should be enough for 2-3 years. But in Tatarstan, according to Etazhi's analytics, all new buildings are sold in less than 2 years. The average for Russia is 2 years and 1 month. In Moscow Oblast — 2 years and 4 months.

Balance of construction market in leading regions

REGION

STOCKS OF HOUSING UNDER CONSTRUCTION, YEARS

PERIOD OF SALE OF UNSOLD HOUSING UNDER CONSTRUCTION, YEARS

RATIO OF SALES TO CONSTRUCTION READINESS,%

1

Moscow

3.4

2.1

72%

2

Moscow Oblast

2

2.4

72%

3

Krasnodar Krai

3.2

2.9

64%

4

Saint-Petersburg

2.5

2.3

76%

5

Leningrad Oblast

2.6

3.5

65%

6

Novosibirsk Oblast

3.1

1.9

77%

7

Tyumen Oblast

3.2

1.7

97%

8

Rostov Oblast

3

1.8

90%

9

Tatarstan

3.4

1.9

86%

10

Russia

2.8

2.1

80%

Normal level

2-3 years

2-3 years

70%

Etazhi Development's data

“There will be a deep fall, but not in Kazan, and if in Kazan, then not everywhere," Marat Gallyamov believes. “The drop will be in the economy segment, where there were sales without using the down payment. This is typical for residential complexes outside Kazan. Good locations in Kazan will always be worth their weight in gold, and the shortage here will persist.”

“The very fact that housing has not been sold today, which is being commissioned in 2024, is not a bad indicator for the market. This is considered nonsense in Tatarstan, where the entire house was bought up at the stage of construction of the fourth floor. But this is usual for many Russian cities. That's why there are such prices in Kazan. The third place in Russia, except for Sochi.”

Now the situation is changing: one can come and buy a new ready-made apartment and immediately start repairing. “There is going to be a struggle for quality and for the customer. Ready-made apartments with furniture will soon be offered, as in Turkey and the UAE. So the conclusion is: on the contrary, it is good for the client that the apartments are unsold. And developers will find a way out how to sell," Gallyamov believes.

“I think it was expected," says Ruslan Khabibrakhmanov, the director of Flat real estate agency. “Even state support has become more expensive. Many banks have run out of limits on IT mortgages. For those who have them, underwriting has become tougher. Not everyone can get approval. There are also restrictions on family mortgages, and they have become more expensive. All this has led to that demand in the market is slowly cooling down.”

According to Khabibrakhmanov, developers are in no hurry to reduce the price, but they are already starting to do it selectively.: “They can provide discounts for specific customers," he notes. “In general, we are seeing the emergence of preferential programmes from developers for residential complexes.”

The industry is heavily dependent on banks

“The main problem now for both developers and buyers is the high key rate. With the introduction of project financing and escrow accounts, the entire industry is rigidly dependent on the situation in the banking sector and the monetary policy pursued by the Central Bank," says Nail Galeev, CEO of the SMU-88 group of companies. “This means that all commercial mortgages come with rates close to 20%, which, taking into account the current cost per square meter, leads to huge monthly payments and cuts off about 99% of buyers. This is clearly seen in the secondary market — today it practically does not exist.”

“The market of new buildings is still somehow supported by preferential government programmes, but their conditions no longer correspond to current realities — in cities with millions of people, credit limits do not cover the cost of apartments," Galeev notes. “Besides, due to the paralysed secondary housing market, the scheme 'sell the old apartment — buy a new one' does not work, which also affects the dynamics of sales.”

“As a result, the market is stalling, although we see that there is demand. This is clearly seen in the results of the first quarter. As you remember, at the beginning of the year there were difficulties with preferential mortgages due to that banks suddenly introduced an additional commission for developers to buy apartments under state-supported programmes. As a result, the share of transactions with preferential mortgages significantly decreased, but the installment programme from the developer became quite popular," Galeev cites as an example. “This very vividly illustrates the position of buyers — it is no longer possible to postpone the purchase of housing, but they are waiting and hoping for stabilisation of the mortgage market in the future.”

Galeev notes that developers are waiting for new conditions under the family mortgage programme today. “We support the proposal of the rais of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, to increase the limits for this programme — a big thank you to Rustam Nurgalievich for listening and listening to both builders and buyers," Nail Galeev says.

Besides, there is hope for a reduction in the key rate by the end of this year or early next year: “If it approaches 10-11%, then we can talk about some general stabilisation of the market. In the meantime, there will definitely be a fall in the short distance. The May holidays and the beginning of the summer season will have their say — a lull at this time is quite traditional, if there are no special triggers," the developer forecasts.

Mortgages are no longer a driver of the housing market

“The situation in the real estate market is always different for the main players. There is a primary and secondary market, there are ups and downs depending on a particular time period," says Olga Volchkova, the director for development at Gran PLC. “Prices for new buildings continue to grow slowly. It is related to that the cost of building materials increases monthly. The price increase is off the scale for concrete products, windows, stained glass products, cement.”

The dynamics of price growth remains, despite the expansion of the exposition associated with the launch of new complexes on the market. According to her, consumer demand in the market is restrained, showing either a surge or stagnation.

“If we analyse the sales situation in our company, then in 2024 the indicators of our sales plan have been fulfilled and even exceeded in some months. The development vector for the coming months will be determined by the policy of banks — perhaps, the market will face partial stagnation due to the reduction of preferential programmes.”

Many buyers are limited by the requirement of banks to the amount of the initial payment, which has increased and now ranges from 30% to 50%.

“Recently, experts have been increasingly talking about the exhaustion of mortgages as the main resource for the development of the housing market, and developers are actively looking for alternative mechanisms to raise funds for the implementation of new projects. Loan and savings banks may become one of such mechanisms in the primary market," Volchkova gave an example. She insists that the real estate market in any economic situation in Russia is always growing and increasing in value and is always liquid.

Approaches to buying real estate are changing

“In 2024, the approaches and motivation of buyers have changed in the market. If earlier a significant part of the fund was bought up by investors in order to increase funds on deferred sale, now more and more — in order to save them and passive income from renting housing for a long time," says Maxim Nikolaev, the managing partner of BMP Group. “The demand for it in Kazan is growing against the background of an increase in the tourist flow and the transition of professional renters to daily rent.”

As for the shares of unsold apartments in houses of high and low readiness, this ratio has always been approximately the same, says Nikolaev:

“The higher the readiness of the house for rent, the less unsold housing. And vice versa. At the same time, in any project there are products of low liquidity — apartments that are sold longer than others: large square footage, with a complex layout, on the first and last floors," the expert lists.

Developers are waiting for the cancellation of preferential mortgage or its transformation. As a result, according to Nikolaev, the vector of buyer's interest will be shifted towards suburban real estate. What is more, not houses, since this is a product for a specific buyer, but apartments in apartment buildings in the near suburbs, which are much more affordable than apartments in the city.

Yulia Garaeva
Tatarstan