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Thread: How do people get a flat in Russia and the other CIS countries?

  1. #1
    Hanna
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    How do people get a flat in Russia and the other CIS countries?

    Can you get a rental flat, and if so how?

    Or do most people need to buy their flats?

    Is the system corrupt?

    How did you get your flat and are you mostly happy, or looking to upgrade?

    The reason that I am asking is because I am looking for a flat myself, in Stockholm. I would not want to buy one right now, but the rental market is so regulated that it is impossible to get a flat without being in a queue for a number of years. I am at my wits end and feeling really bad about what to do. At the moment I am staying in a company flat, but I don't like the area, the building and the flat is too small. Blah!!!
    The system in the UK were I lived previously is not regulated by the state but by market price - meaning that people (like me) who have agood income can get a decent flat, where they want.

    I am curious how much the Russian system has changed over the last 20 years, whether people are pleased with the changes and if normal people are now able to find flats that suit them, at a reasonable price.

    Hoping to hear about your experiences and finding out how this works, in Russia and the other CIS coutnries.

  2. #2
    Почтенный гражданин Dmitry Khomichuk's Avatar
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    In Belarus you can buy or rent a flat without problem. Just have money.
    Also if you have bad living conditions you can stay into queue for the flat. This queue make you possible to buy flat in a government built house. It is cheaper than market and also you will get 25 years special credit with low stakes. Also there are social programs. For example if you have 5 children you will get flat for free. 3 and 4 children government will pay some percent of you flat. Don't know exact number. Also if you don't want flat and want to build house it is also possible at the same conditions.

    I finished university this year and I should work for two years where government says. (If you have a bit of brain you will work where you want, but some problems can appear when you want to change place. Also you can pay for education and go away. ). So during this two years you also can get in queue for a flat. I don't know what you should do because I haven't done it yet. But I will go there after New Year and than I will write more.

    Now I'm renting a two-roomed flat with my sister in Minsk for 400$ per month. As far as I know you can get it cheaper (200$ - 300$), but it depends on flat and place. My flat is close to my work and sister's one and I can pay, so it is affordable for me.

    I think there are terrible amount of mistakes in my text, so please correct it.

  3. #3
    Hanna
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    Actually, your text is very good. Don't worry, you are getting better at English every day, it seems!
    There were no mistakes that were serious enough to need correcting.

    Well, that is not a bad system at all, in Belarus. Your living situation is the same as people your age have in London.
    They usually share a flat with one or two friends.

    Only difference is that they usually have one room per person and a living room in addition to that - where they can socialise, watch TV together etc. Like in "Friends"

    The prices in Belarus seem low, but I know that salaries are not very high either.
    When I was in Minsk I met a couple who had 4 flats that they were letting. I was wondering whether their flats were rented or private flats that they owned - the flats were quite nice inside and located just near the technical university and the language university - you probably know where I mean.

    In Stockholm the queue does not work. It is not possible to get flats in central town, unless you wait for 12 years.
    The only slight possibility is newly build flats, outside town because the new flats tend to have higher rent which some people in they queue cannot afford.

    Today I got super "lucky" and was put forward for a newly built flat - since I was not at work I decided to go to the viewing. It's three rooms and it was on the "wrong" side of town. I decided to take a look anyway since there is a lot of beautiful forests and lakes nearby - good for jogging and going for walks.

    But my word, what a depressing area! There was nothing wrong with the building itself, but the area was just so ugly.
    The thing that is so frustrating is that I can afford to pay a very high rent - there just aren't any bloody flats!
    I am so angry.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dmitry Khomitchuk View Post
    Now I'm renting a two-roomed flat with my sister in Minsk for 400$ per month. As far as I know you can get it cheaper (200$ - 300$), but it depends on flat and place. My flat is close to my work and sister's one and I can pay, so it is affordable for me.
    Can I please ask you, what would be your salary while working off for the state, and what would it be at a job of your choice given your speciality, and which option are you on now?

  5. #5
    Hanna
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    In case Dmitri doesn't want to respond to this question, I'll tell you about another example.
    I met a woman from Minsk who had a job as a chief accountant at a small state run enterprise. She told me that she made $800 and felt that this was rather crap - she had had a better paid job previously but she was due to retire, so she had to settle for this other job instead (she needed to continue working).

    I might remember wrongly but I think this is what it was - Dmitri, please correct me if this sounds totally off the mark.

    Anyway Eric, a lot of things are very cheap in Belarus - the salaries are only a problem with foreign-produced goods and for going abroad. They make some really nice products in Belarus that are amazingly cheap. I bought some childrens clothes for my niece that were funky, cute and stylish, very cheap. I bought a jacket for USD 25 which I had lots of compliments for in Sweden. Made in .by! Another thing is, people get a lot of things for free that they would pay for in other countries. It's quite common that they get a 2-3 week holiday practically for free from their work. That is the positive side of Belarus. Again, Dmitri, please correct me if I am wrong, this is my impression after spending a bit of time there.

    But remember, this thread is suposed to be about flats!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    In case Dmitri doesn't want to respond to this question, I'll tell you about another example.
    I met a woman from Minsk who had a job as a chief accountant at a small state run enterprise. She told me that she made $800 and felt that this was rather crap - she had had a better paid job previously but she was due to retire, so she had to settle for this other job instead (she needed to continue working).

    I might remember wrongly but I think this is what it was - Dmitri, please correct me if this sounds totally off the mark.

    Anyway Eric, a lot of things are very cheap in Belarus - the salaries are only a problem with foreign-produced goods and for going abroad. They make some really nice products in Belarus that are amazingly cheap. I bought some childrens clothes for my niece that were funky, cute and stylish, very cheap. I bought a jacket for USD 25 which I had lots of compliments for in Sweden. Made in .by! Another thing is, people get a lot of things for free that they would pay for in other countries. It's quite common that they get a 2-3 week holiday practically for free from their work. That is the positive side of Belarus. Again, Dmitri, please correct me if I am wrong, this is my impression after spending a bit of time there.

    But remember, this thread is suposed to be about flats!
    It certainly is. Just a few words on your encouraging anthem. Since having gotten back from there, have you come up with the idea that:

    a) Chief accountant is considered to be a rather well-paid job, above the average level...
    b) Their currency has been three times devalued over this time compared to its level the last time you were there... (sure, the salaries haven't been evaluated in anything but it)

    ?

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    There is almost no rental market in Russia
    Usually one have to deal with a landlord in person and find a landlord by oneself

  8. #8
    Почтенный гражданин Dmitry Khomichuk's Avatar
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    Many people work for state, so their salary is not high and yes, because of devaluation they have some troubles. But their salary was two times reevaluated. And it will be reevaluated more.

    So my friend who works on government (nothing special, simple work) gets 300$ per month. 40 working hours per week. He lives with two friends in three-roomed flat and they pay 350$ per month.

    If you are better then middle and work a bit more you can have 1000$ - 1500$ without problems. By the way I'm telling about IT sphere and other incomes are lower. As far as I know usual workers at the factories can get 150$ - 200$. Well qualified workers can get two times more. If you live in your town, your parent will have a flat got in Soviet time almost always. It is usual to live with parents till you get married in Belarus.

    My second friend don't work in IT sphere. He also finished university this year. He returned to Brest and lives with his parents. He works for state as power lines engineer (paper work primary) and gets 350$.

    About me. I have some health issues, so I can't work normally (8 hours every day). If I worked 40 hours per week I would get 1000$. So I get less and it depends on how many tasks I have done.

    About rental market. You can find owners by yourself but it takes time, and many adverts a placed by rental agencies. There are many rental agencies.

    When I was searching for a flat I called by advert, it was an agency advert. We looked at a flat and don't like it. So agency offered us to find something else. We agreed. They wanted 150$ when they find a flat for us.

    As I know usually they offer you different variants per week. If you don't like them they forget you. Also there are agencies who works for some number of flats. But they can cheat you by showing bad flats.

    About Hanna's question. Labor Law guarantees every person 2 weeks paid as working per year. Also you can have holiday without pay 2 weeks more. Depending on contract you can have more paid and unpaid holidays.

  9. #9
    Hanna
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    Interesting info about Belarus, thanks Dmitry!
    Sorry to hear that you have health problems, I hope it's nothing serious.

    Seems like a VERY wise decision of you to go into IT and not be a regular engineer. What's your speciality? I used to be a programmer, mainly Java but now I am a project manager. I guess if I worked in Belarus, I'd be earning in the range that you mentioned.

    I thought people had more holiday than 2+2 weeks in Belarus - that's not much!
    About the devaluations - yes that is rubbish, and a real failure by the BY government. They should not have allowed that to happen and it's understandable that people are upset about it. I did not see any protests or queue for changing money when I was in Belarus, but many people were really angry and disappointed.

    In France, they have 6 weeks per year.... (paid). And I met a couple from Murmansk (when I was in Belarus). He had 7 weeks paid holiday, and his wife 5. The husband got extra due to being in the Arctic area but that was the most extreme I have ever heard.

  10. #10
    Почтенный гражданин Dmitry Khomichuk's Avatar
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    I'm C++ programmer. Also I can work with .NET Framework. I like mathematics more than coding. Making algorythms, mathematical models, etc.

    About holidays, also there are some state holidays. Average amount of working days per month is 21 (8 hours per day)(Without extra-weeks I mentioned). And what is your working regime?

    State salaries are low because of social politics. For example, situation when 4 people do the same and really work less then half of working time is usual. So we can take one person and pay him 4 salaries. And he will have 800$ salary. But state want all people to have funds for live, so we have what we have.

    About devaluation. It looks terrible if compare in dollars. 200% But in goods it is 50% - 100% (depends on goods). And state has already reevaluated salaries for 25%. So living conditions didn't cnange a lot. Belarus economics depends on export/import a lot, so I don't see something extraordinaly comparing to other countries. And yes, government did some silly steps, devaluation could be softer.

  11. #11
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    They should not have allowed that to happen
    How could they avoid it?

  12. #12
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    Usually one have to deal with a landlord in person and find a landlord by oneself
    It's the same in Latvia too. I did not even consider state-owned flats and started searching in classified ads immediately.

    Now I'm renting a two-roomed flat with my sister in Minsk for 400$ per month
    That looks expensive - is it in city center?

    My rent for one-room flat is about 120$. (near city center)
    I finished university this year and I should work for two years where government says.
    I finished about a year ago and did not have to pay anything.
    There are two ways (in state owned universities) - either you pay full price - or pay nothing - if you have good enough exam results (government pays for everything).
    So if you are smart enough you can graduate and not be in a gigantic debt like many american students.

    They should not have allowed that to happen and it's understandable that people are upset about it.
    They raised wages before "elections" to the levels that were unsustainable in long term - it is unsurprising that they had to devalue.
    Серп и молот - смерть и голод!

  13. #13
    Завсегдатай maxmixiv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    ..............................
    I am curious how much the Russian system has changed over the last 20 years, whether people are pleased with the changes and if normal people are now able to find flats that suit them, at a reasonable price.

    Hoping to hear about your experiences and finding out how this works, in Russia and the other CIS coutnries.
    Hi!
    Most "normal people" in Russian cities, who are not owners, have to pay about half of their wages for the flat, be it mortgage or rent. Of course, this is not reasonable and does not make them happier! The prices are high, because there is shortage of flats. It was always so, but over time gets worse, because 1) many flats situated on 1st floor are dedicated now for shops and "offices", 2) many people leave country side places and move to big cities, 3) "new russians" tend to buy many flats (such an investment)

    If you are army officer then you can count on the new flat. I believe that it is given as credit with very attractive conditions (though not sure).
    Also, in some villages, their government, trying to interest people of specifically wanted professions in coming and working, can build new small houses ("cottages"), but very strict obligations apply.
    On top of that, the things are different among regions.
    Other people should buy or rent.
    I can't agree about rent market: there are LOTS of agencies, providing such services, and many prefer them (more confidence and "template" contracts are being signed). If you have money, you can get flat in few hours (most probably it will be ugly and expensive, but nevertheless).
    In 1990s the important change happened: people, who was lucky being official tenants at some moment, could turn their flats in "private property" so, that flats can be sold and inherited.
    Best regards,
    Max
    Omsk, Russia

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    The prices are high, because there is shortage of flats.
    In the biggest country in the whole world.
    And with one of the lowest population densities.
    Серп и молот - смерть и голод!

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    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxmixiv View Post
    Hi!...
    Best regards,
    Max
    Omsk, Russia
    Max! Welcome to the forum!

  16. #16
    Завсегдатай maxmixiv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lampada View Post
    Max! Welcome to the forum!
    Thanks!

  17. #17
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    I think there is terrible amount of mistakes in my text, so please correct it.
    I think your main problem is articles. You underuse them. There are some mistakes with the third person singular.

  18. #18
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    Many people work for the state, so their salary is not high and yes, because of the devaluation they have some troubles. But their salary was two times reevaluated. And it will be reevaluated more.

    So my friend who works for the government (nothing special, simple work) gets 300$ per month. 40 working hours per week. He lives with two friends in a three-roomed flat and they pay 350$ per month.

    If you are better than middle (the avarage, maybe?) and work a bit more you can have 1000$ - 1500$ without problems. By the way I'm telling about the IT sphere and other incomes are lower. As far as I know usual workers at factories can get 150$ - 200$. Well qualified workers can get two times more. If you live in your town, your parent will have a flat got in the Soviet times almost always. It is usual to live with parents till you get married in Belarus.
    Something like that, I think.

  19. #19
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxmixiv View Post
    Hi!
    Most "normal people" in Russian cities, who are not owners, have to pay about half of their wages for the flat, be it mortgage or rent. Of course, this is not reasonable and does not make them happier! The prices are high, because there is shortage of flats. It was always so, but over time gets worse, because 1) many flats situated on 1st floor are dedicated now for shops and "offices", 2) many people leave country side places and move to big cities, 3) "new russians" tend to buy many flats (such an investment)

    If you are army officer then you can count on the new flat. I believe that it is given as credit with very attractive conditions (though not sure).
    Also, in some villages, their government, trying to interest people of specifically wanted professions in coming and working, can build new small houses ("cottages"), but very strict obligations apply.
    On top of that, the things are different among regions.
    Other people should buy or rent.
    I can't agree about rent market: there are LOTS of agencies, providing such services, and many prefer them (more confidence and "template" contracts are being signed). If you have money, you can get flat in few hours (most probably it will be ugly and expensive, but nevertheless).
    In 1990s the important change happened: people, who was lucky being official tenants at some moment, could turn their flats in "private property" so, that flats can be sold and inherited.
    Best regards,
    Max
    Omsk, Russia
    That was really interesting to read! Thanks a lot Max, for explaining the situation in Omsk.

    My rent for one-room flat is about 120$. (near city center)
    Omg, that is seriously cheap!! Is this flat in a good state, I mean has it been reanovated somet time recently, and are things working in the flat?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    Omg, that is seriously cheap!!
    Unless your salary is $300 a month

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