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Modern Housing
15 February 2018

Russia plans to build 800 million square metres of housing by 2025. A construction project on this scale represents a unique opportunity to improve quality of life for almost 25 million Russians. The widespread practice of lowering the cost of housing construction as far as possible has already demonstrated its failings. Whilst it solves short-term problems faced by developers and some consumers, it creates new, long-term problems elsewhere: high operating costs (including those resulting from low-quality construction and building materials), cities which are less attractive to young people and highly qualified specialists, social decay, and, as a consequence, a deterioration in the local economy. At the same time, demand for new housing remains stable, and is kept high by accessible mortgages — in 2017, mortgage interest rates fell to 9,5%, a record low in Russian history. The present state of the housing market represents a unique opportunity to create modern and comfortable living conditions as an investment in the development of future generations. In 2017, the Russian Government introduced the concept of ‘standard housing’ with the law ‘On Assisting the Development of Housing Construction’ and other legislation adopted at the national level. In the long term there are plans to approve requirements for standard housing which will define a minimum level of quality for apartments and the urban environment in Russia. These will be incorporated within the integrated regional development standards which are set to be confirmed in 2018. What should modern housing look like in the twenty-first century? How does quality of housing impact on quality of life in a city? What tools does the Government have for increasing access to housing? How can a balance be maintained between housing quality and cost? What structural changes must be effected in order to improve quality of life in Russian cities? How can integrated regional development standards be implemented in a way that ensures that they work? What tools do local authorities have for improving the quality of housing and the environment in cities?

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