The 'Russia Summit' Exhibition, Billed as First of its Kind

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Kevin Brass | August 16, 2010 3:43 PM ET

Promoters of an upcoming exhibition in Moscow say it will be the first event of its kind to focus exclusively on helping overseas agents and developers market residential property to Russian buyers.

"There are a number of successful international property shows in Moscow and St. Petersburg but they are all aimed at the end consumer," said Ashley Rigg, director of, which is co-promoting the event with Russia-based aiGroup. "There has never been anything focused on helping agents and developers both understand the market and more importantly meet local agents who can refer business."

The Russia Summit, scheduled for Nov. 11 and 12, will bring together representatives of many of the top international real estate companies in Moscow, including Intermark Savills, Knight Frank Russia and Gordon Rock.

Rigg hopes to get at least 50 companies to attend and exhibit. So far he has about 15 exhibitors confirmed, primarily agents and developers from Europe, plus one company from Thailand. Two developers from the United States are also close to committing, he says.

Face-time -- personal contact -- is essential to doing business in Russia, Rigg says. But e-mails and phone calls won't create referral relationships in Russia. "Building trust is even more important with Russian agents so taking the time to go to the country and meet the right people is very important," Rigg said.

Wealthy Russian buyers have become something of an international cliché, but few professionals know how to tap the market. There are many "misconceptions" about the Russian buyer, including strong differences between second home buyers and a growing group of pure investors, Rigg says "All the big agencies" in Russia have dedicated divisions focusing on pure investment plays, he notes.

Like the other BRIC countries, the huge growth of the Russian middle class, coupled with a genuine distrust of the Russian economy, is changing all the economic dynamics. Plus, it is very, very cold, which provides a unique incentive for buying overseas property.

"Climate is a driver in a way that it is not in the U.S.," Rigg said.

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