Apartments and houses types in Russia

In Russia, the parameters people think of when starting the search for an apartment on the secondary market are price, area, year of construction and the material of the house.

Typical Russian floorplans

The most popular type of housing in Russia is an apartment in a building. Flats are classified as a studio, one room, two rooms, three rooms and rarely four and more rooms. This classification means that usually there is a kitchen, hall and the number of rooms specified. In studio apartments kitchen and living areas are not separated by a wall. There is usually one bathroom in the apartment, and sometimes more than one in new development buildings. Bathroom facilities can be combined (meaning that bathroom and toilet are in the same room) or separated (bathroom and toilet are separate rooms). Combined bathrooms can be expected in the old buildings and in a studio or one-room apartment.

russian apartment  typical floorplan

Types of houses in Russia

There are four basic types of houses in Russia: monolithic, brick, block, panel. Also, there are monolith-brick houses and monolithic houses with a ventilated facade. The strongest are brick houses. The most modern type of construction is the monolithic type. All of them differ in materials and construction technology itself.

The panels that are assembled at home are the elements that are made at the factory and, roughly speaking, are the finished wall of the room. The window and door openings are already installed in the panels on a factory. Building panel houses is quick and cheap; that is why they started the foundation of house building in the 1950s – 1970s in the USSR. Nowadays also many houses are built from panels. Blockhouses are the smallest group in mass development, their external walls are lined with blocks, it is not a single panel. Such houses were built mainly in the 70–80s. In terms of noise and heat insulation, they are similar to panel ones.

Monolith-brick houses combine the advantages of monolithic and brick buildings: sound and heat insulation, the variability of layouts. A monolith with a ventilated facade is rather a type of finishing work. It allows developers to increase thermal insulation due to the presence of an air gap between the surface of the wall and finish, to decorate the facade, as well as minimize the threat of condensation in the house.

house types in russia

How to navigate the apartment prices?

A monolithic building will always be more expensive than a blockhouse, and a brick house will be more expensive than a panel one.

The price is influenced by the location, infrastructure, type of a house, layout and year of construction – all together. Housing already built in the district also plays a role in the secondary market. But in the same area, a prefabricated house is always cheaper than a monolithic or brick house. Since 2017, the cost of apartments in Khrushchev houses in Moscow is also affected by the renovation program. The cheapest are block houses, panel houses with a small kitchen and panel Khrushchev houses. The most expensive – brick, monolithic brick and monolithic houses with a ventilated facade

Panel buildings are usually avoided in Russia – are they really so bad?

Panel houses have both pros and cons. The disadvantages of the “panelka” are low thermal performance in comparison with other materials, insufficient sound insulation, reduced seismic resistance. In addition, with the slightest deviations in technology, at the junction of joints, gaps are formed.

New technologies (for example, seamless construction), on which panel houses are being built, can significantly reduce the flow rate and freezing of the object, and reduce energy costs.

apartments in panel houses in Russia

A lot depends on the year of construction, layout, and environment. Now in Moscow on the secondary market, panel houses of typical planning (with a kitchen from 8 to 10 square meters) are considered a good compromise in terms of ease of planning and price.

How to understand what affects the apartment price more: the year of construction, the material from which the house is made, or the condition of the apartment?

If we distribute according to significance, then in the first place there will be material, in the second – the year of construction and in the last – the condition of the apartment. However, buyers first of all pay attention to the year of construction, and then everything else.

Which to prefer: an apartment condition or apartment building type?

It is all individual and depends on the requirements of the buyer. If the goal is to invest money, then it makes sense to buy an apartment in a house that falls under the renovation program which makes an owner eligible for an apartment in a new building at some point. If the goal is to live in an apartment, then it will be more profitable to buy an average apartment in a good house: the pluses of the location will be more than valuable than temporary costs for repairs. However, it only makes sense if you have free funds for repairs. If you don’t then you’ll have to look for compromises.


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