Moscow commercial market is all about good value
There is growing interest from investors who see potential in the Moscow real estate market, based on economic fundamentals, strong occupational demand and limited high quality office stock. With prime yields at close to 8 per cent for “Best in Class” assets that provide the quality and income security similar to other world cities, Moscow appears to be good value compared to more mature markets where pricing is closer to 4 to 5 per cent. Active investors are taking the view that they are able to purchase core assets but at opportunistic return levels.
Last year hit a record for real estate investment with 40 per cent of the total volume (US$8.5 billion) coming from international capital including investors such as CIC, Hines, Morgan Stanley, Heitman and the Omani Investment Fund. We expect foreign investor activity to come in at about 40 per cent of the total again this year; despite concerns regarding the euro zone, there is strong demand from both international and domestic investors for high quality assets in Russia. For example, Finnish investment company Sponda has acquired Bakhrushina Business Centre in downtown Moscow from UFG Real Estate for US$47 million.
Other big transactions include Russian real estate investor O1 Properties’ purchase of Ducat Place III, the Class A office tower at 6 Ulitsa Gasheka, from US developer Hines for about US$375 million and the US$1.1 billion sale of Saint Petersburg’s Galeria shopping complex at the end of 2011.
This year investors have been focused on high quality core assets in Moscow, and with the ongoing euro zone crisis, it is likely they will continue to do so, as Moscow will provide opportunities for growth within a stable economic environment.