Russia is ahead of Western countries in terms of housing affordability. However, the quality of the urban environment and the level of comfort of housing are low.
Thanks to loyal urban planning regulations and the chaotic development of the suburbs, Russian agglomerations have outstripped Western countries in terms of affordability. However, this approach has led to the emergence of areas that are uncomfortable for life. Urbanists believe that such a city-planning policy is not viable. In the coming years, they expect a decrease in housing affordability.
In 17 large Russian agglomerations, where more than 1 million people live, the availability coefficient of apartments at the end of 2019 was 2.6 years. During this period, the average household can accumulate funds for the purchase of basic housing, according to a study by the Institute of Urban Economics Foundation, conducted in the framework of the international survey Demographia Housing Affordability Survey 2020. Russia is the leader among the nine states considered in the survey. The lowest housing affordability is recorded in Hong Kong, whose residents will need 20.8 years to purchase an apartment. Among the leaders in the availability of housing in the United States, where the acquisition of basic housing requires 3.6 years.
According to IEG, Russia has the most affordable housing in the Krasnodar metropolitan area, where households will need 2 years to purchase housing. In the Moscow agglomeration, the availability coefficient was the highest – 4.2 years. According to the IEG, 48% of Russians can afford to purchase housing with the help of loans.
Housing affordability indices do not reflect the real amount of time that citizens need to purchase a home. The average indicator for the country is calculated, while it does not take into account what proportion of the income an average young family with a child can spend on buying a house.
Recently, the construction of typical high-rise buildings in remote areas predominates in the country. Developers in recent years have reduced the square footage of an apartment due to reduced purchasing power. In new areas, the quality of the urban environment and residential real estate is low.
In the United States, the basic model unit of housing is considered a townhouse or house with an area of 200 square meters. In Russia, this is a typical apartment on the outskirts of a large city with an area of 50 square meters. m. In the example of the Krasnodar agglomeration, there is a predominance of chaotic buildings. Although housing provision in the country is higher than global indicators, the level of housing comfort remains low. The affordability of housing, ensured through mass development, will decrease in the future, since the areas around large cities are predominantly built up.