Living the Dream: Luxury Real Estate
Published: June 29, 2014 (Issue # 1817)
The tallest tower in Monaco, a medieval castle in Tuscany or a mansion with a magnificent view of Palace Square in St. Petersburg — for many years such homes seemed little more than an unobtainable fantasy for many Russians. Today, however, dreams such as these really can come true with the only question being how much money people are ready to pay for the luxury of living like a king.
While the current economic instability has caused a slight decrease in the number of customers interested in buying pricey, unusual buildings, the luxury residential real estate market still has plenty of opportunities to satisfy the most demanding tastes. The most expensive residential real estate in St. Petersburg falls within the socalled “Golden Triangle,” the area bounded by the Admiralteyskaya and Dvortsovaya Embankments, the Fontanka river and Ulitsa Gorokhovaya. Residential property accounts for just over half of all the property located in this area, with restaurants, offices and shops occupying the rest.
The list of St. Petersburg’s most expensive districts also includes Krestovsky and Kamenny Islands, and the area surrounding Tavrichesky Palace, according to Penny Lane Realty.
“We have seven listings in St. Petersburg priced at $10 million or higher,” said Pavel Pikalev, head of Penny Lane Realty in St. Petersburg, speaking to The St. Petersburg Times. “These are either renovated, furnished apartments or places like a reconstructed four-story mansion on the Moika Embankment with a view of Palace Square and the Hermitage.
“There are also plenty of listings in nearby suburbs, mostly in the Kurortny district. Prices there depend on how far the property is from the Gulf of Finland, the size of the land plot and its landscaping,” he said.
However, despite the large number of high-end properties on the market that are located close to the city center, it is not enough to entice some Russian buyers. Instead these buyers are beginning to look across to foreign shores for property purchases where entire islands, such as Wadigi in the Fiji Archipelago, can be bought. Occupying eight hectares, an island such as this is only 50 minutes by boat from the mainland.
“On one hand, it is an ideal place for solitude, where a public figure can hide from unwanted attention,” said Alexander Romanenko, president of Advecs Real Estate, speaking to The St. Petersburg Times. “On the other hand, it is also a developed and successful business, which includes a five-star villa with three bedrooms and everything necessary for stand-alone accommodation.
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