Top 5 countries for Russians to purchase residential real estate, based on the results of 2023

The most popular countries where Russians most actively purchased real estate in 2023, according to Intermark Global, were the UAE (21%) and Thailand (20%). Last year's leader Türkiye, with 15% of demand, ranks third.
Experts explain the high demand for the Emirates and Turkey by the fact that these countries, unlike EU states, did not introduce restrictions, and local real estate markets remain stable and reliable. Let’s figure out what other areas Russians chose to purchase real estate in 2023.
The UAE accounts for 21% of Russians' requests for the purchase of foreign real estate. Dubai became the most popular emirate among Russians at the end of the year. As experts note, most of the transactions by Russians with UAE real estate were concluded in the first half of the year. In the third and fourth quarters, demand decreased slightly, as did overall interest in foreign markets. The main reason for this is the weakening of the ruble in the third quarter, which is why many clients decided to postpone the decision to purchase for foreign currency and wait for better conditions, the expert adds.
The structure of demand for UAE real estate has changed over the year due to rising prices, analysts note. Last year, 80% of transactions were for properties under construction due to attractive prices, interesting installment plans and prompt transactions, she says. “In 2023, the share of requests for new buildings has decreased and is less than 50%, as prices for primary real estate have increased significantly and it has become interesting only for those who need an installment plan,” experts add.
Against the backdrop of rising prices for new buildings, the demand for secondary housing in the UAE is also increasing. Demand is also being redistributed from Dubai to neighboring emirates, whose potential has not been fully tapped, experts add.
— In 2023, Russians’ interest in the Omani real estate market also increased. This is a potential competitor for the Emirates. Real estate in Oman gives Russians the same opportunities to obtain a residence permit, open companies with attractive taxation, and bank accounts. At the same time, real estate in Oman is one and a half to two times cheaper than in the UAE. There is a high potential for increasing the value of assets, which makes the country attractive for investment.
“Thailand’s second place in the ranking is due, first of all, to the fact that this country accepts payment both in rubles and in cryptocurrency, which is legally circulated in the country,” experts explain. In this regard, financial navigation and payment for objects is easier than in the UAE and Turkey. 
Investment attractiveness and rental income from local housing are also cited as reasons for the growing interest of buyers in Thailand.
The popularity of Thailand among Russian buyers will continue next year, experts are sure: the high investment potential, large tourist flow and attractive pricing compared to the UAE and Turkey will have an impact.
Russian demand for Turkish real estate in 2023 is lower than in the past. Thus, in October 2022, Russian citizens purchased 2.02 thousand residential properties in the country, and in October 2023 the figure dropped to 713 (by 64%). As experts explain, the shift of this country in the ranking of Russian demand for real estate from first to third place (15% of the total) is associated with a number of factors, the main of which are earthquakes, presidential elections, and the unstable situation in the state as a whole.
Another reason for the decrease in the number of transactions is fluctuations in the exchange rates of the Russian ruble and the Turkish lira. “There has been an extension of the transaction period and an increase in the average bill,” experts say. “But it’s worth noting that demand remains high compared to previous years.”
The main purposes of buying a home in Turkey remain the same, say the experts interviewed: residence permit or citizenship, investment, temporary or permanent stay.
In 2023, the interest of Russians in purchasing real estate in Indonesia remained high, and the island of Bali became the leader in this direction. The number of transactions involving Russians in Bali this year amounted to 14% of the total purchase of foreign real estate.
Bali maintains its position thanks to the development of infrastructure and the construction of new high-quality projects. The mild climate, unique nature, and long beaches create year-round demand for rentals among tourists from all over the world.
One of the main reasons for the popularity of the destination is the restoration of tourist traffic in Bali after the pandemic, as well as the emergence of a large number of professional developers in this market, including immigrants from Russia, experts add.
Among European countries, according to analysts, Russians showed interest in Cyprus (7%) and Hungary (5%). Buyers from Russia consider Cyprus as a holiday home - a remote dacha where they can combine obtaining a residence permit (residence permit), investment and accommodation.
Cyprus is historically popular and understandable to Russian buyers. “A large Russian-speaking community has been formed here. The key factors in demand are the possibility of obtaining a residence permit, relocation, and investments, experts say. “An additional factor is also the prospect of the country joining Schengen, which will allow Russian residence permit holders to move around Europe without a visa.”
This year, Hungary is experiencing particular interest from Russians thanks to an affordable program for obtaining a residence permit when purchasing real estate (from €155 thousand), experts explain. “For many who are considering this method of obtaining a residence permit, it is important that the country does not require permanent residence in it. Hungary provides such an opportunity, and it also issues one of the longest residence permits in Europe - for five years,” says the expert.