Fewer Russians Purchasing in U.S.

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Russian investors have long pinpointed U.S. luxury real estate. But since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week, which has sparked worldwide condemnation and sanctions focused on Russia’s elite and their families, Russian buyers likely will make up less of the U.S. housing market, experts say.

Sunny Isles, Fla., is known as “Little Moscow” and “Moscow by the Sea” and has long been a hotbed for Russian investors to purchase luxury properties in the area. Wealthy Russians have acquired property all along Florida’s southeastern coast.

However, recently imposed economic sanctions directed at Russia aim to send a message that money cannot be safeguarded through family connections or in luxury real estate, the Miami Herald reports.

As of early last week, when the Ukraine invasion started, real estate experts told the Miami Herald the sanctions were unlikely to have a strong impact on South Florida real estate.

“I don’t think that this will have any real impact,” Anders Åslund, a Swedish economist and author of Russia’s Crony Capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy, told the Miami Herald. “The people in Miami are not really the top people. These are comfortable people rather than the top people.”

Still, some aspiring Russian buyers may feel like they are blacklisted from U.S. real estate.

Real estate brokers in the Miami-Dade area told the Miami Herald that they have seen less activity from Russian buyers over the past few years. Jon Mann, a real estate pro with The Jills Zeder Group at Coldwell Banker Realty, said that is because of fluctuations in the ruble and crackdowns on foreign investments using shell companies.

“I think it’s kind of a wait-and-see approach to see how things play out,” Mann told the Miami Herald. “I don’t think there’s going to be a wave of buyers coming here with additional scrutiny from the Biden administration with the sanctions they’ve put in place—I don’t think they’re going to want a microscope on their large cash transactions here.”