Russian buyers hunt trophy properties in NYC and beyond

August 03, 2011 06:09PM

Russian magnates and other foreign investors are buying up some of the priciest residential real estate in the U.S., Bloomberg News reported, as the weak dollar makes for a bargain purchase. They’re interested primarily in high-profile purchases that will make an impression with their friends back home, sources said.

“Those trophies,” said real estate attorney Edward Mermelstein of recent purchases by foreign investors, “they’re buying them to make a splash. They’ll definitely gravitate to a property that’s higher profile as much as to a property with a long-term investment potential.”

New York, Florida and California are the primary markets popular with Russian buyers, according to Miller Samuel, with more than 65 percent of nationwide properties asking more than $20 million located in those states.

Seven residences have sold at that price point in New York so far this year, including a $48 million condominium purchase by Russian composer Igor Krutoy in March only six months after Krutoy and wife Olga bought in Southampton for $12.85 million.

Kirk Henckels, executive vice president of Stribling & Associates in New York, told Bloomberg News that he’d been approached by a Russian buyer who said he was looking to spend $100 million on a Manhattan pad.

“I said, ‘We don’t have properties that high,'” Henckels said. [Bloomberg]