Likely the investment of the decade – Ukrainian Real Estate

A perfect storm appears to be developing in the Ukrainian economy and from the angle of foreign investors, specifically the Ukrainian property market. Last week’s inflation numbers are showing that the Central Bank has finally put the nail in that coffin and economists are predicting that the upcoming January 30th interest rate decision will be radical cuts of around 300bps. Yes, these numbers are huge and the implications for the overall economy are as well but this is merely one of the positives coinciding in what could be a perfect storm developing in the Ukrainian property market.

Lack of Bank Credit (about to change)

In 2014, Consumer credit largely collapsed in the fallout of the revolution that ousted Kremlin-backed quasi dictator Yanukovych and the subsequent Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine. Still today only around 5% of property purchases are done utilizing bank credit. These are cash deals. Lets imagine that the percentage of buyers accessing newly available credit eventually returns to market averages we’ve seen in other emerging Eastern European countries or even back to the 2007 Ukrainian average of 70%. The Zelensky government is currently implementing programs to do exactly this in both business and consumer credit. With rental yields (10%-15%) already on par with mortgage rates, a further drop in cost should find ready customers.

Vanishing inventory

In the capital city of Kyiv, inventory for sale on the secondary market has been cut from the low 2 years ago at 22,000 to the current 10,300. The rate of evaporation has been accelerating of late with the past year coming in at -37%. Here’s an inventory chart from last week’s article .

December 2019 Property Inventory (secondary market)

The +16% price gains we saw in 2019 will likely be dwarved by what we see in 2020 and likely 2021 as all these factors coincide. We’ll know more on January 30th as NBU meets.

Kyiv Property Market Inventory continues to Vanish

December 2019 was another month of vanishing inventory and rising prices in the Kyiv secondary market. Denominated in US Dollars, the city’s average square meter came in at $1430 with city center meters at $2120. Overall 2019 saw a gain of +16%. With city center annual rental yields averaging 10%-18%, the Kyiv property market is proving itself to be one of the top performers of the year globally in terms of net returns.

But the real story continues to be evaporating inventory now sitting at 10,300 units and showing a year-over-year draw down of -37%. This is a far cry from the 22,000 we saw only 2 years ago. A continuation of this trend should have a more pronounced positive impact on price into 2020. The special city center properties (penthouses, park views etc) we saw in 2017 going for -50% of their 2007 highs are mostly gone and those who were lucky enough to pick them up will likely be rewarded with spectacular gains.

Last month’s Kyiv property market update (November 2018 data)

Ukrainian Language Schools in Kyiv

Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, is the ideal place to learn and appreciate the intricacies of the Slavic languages. The historical and cultural center of the Ukrainian Steppe for over a millennia. This legacy is still present in Ukrainian culture, as the historical crossroads between the great Eastern and Western powers. Kyiv is host to many differing language schools. Price and program plans range from $10 USD for a 45 minute lesson, to $1200 USD for a full intensive 6 week program.

ALMA Language School

Located in the city center, on Lipskaya street, only a short walk from Arsenalna metro station. It is close too Mariinsky Park and only a 15 minute walk from Kreshatyk Street. This language school features a large and professional staff of 6 teachers, and specializes in the teaching of Russian and Ukrainian. The price for one individual lesson is ₴500 UAH ($20 USD) for up to a 2 hour lesson. Or for groups ₴2400 UAH ($100 USD) for 8 biweekly lessons. This school also offers specialized classes teaching Russian/Ukrainian slang, Ukrainian Literature, and many other diverse options.

ECHO Eastern Europe Language School

Located in Podil, Echo Eastern Europe Language School is another option that offers both courses in Ukrainian and Russian. ECHO is a short walk from Poshtova Ploshcha Metro Station, and the Dnieper River. The school’s website contains a large catalog of testimonials and reviews from previous students. ECHO offers many different class options. These options range from an intensive summer school program to over the internet Skype lessons. Singular 45 minute lessons cost €11 EUR ($12 USD), and the standard course consisting of 20 lessons costs €220 EUR ($245 USD). A wide variety of other services are offered by ECHO such as, tours of Kyiv, and other extracurricular activities ranging from 10 EUR ($11 USD) to 90 EUR ($100 USD).

NOVAMOVA International Language School

Located in the Kyiv city center, NOVAMOVA International Language School is only a 3 minute walk from Golden Gate and Zoloti Vorota Metro Station, and contains 11 instructional rooms. Like other languages schools listed here NOVAMOVA offers specials programs that include events like historical tours and immersions into Ukrainian culture through many culturally related activities. NOVAMOVA only allows for the purchase of a 1 week or more. 1 week consisting of 20 lessons carries the cost of €200 EUR ($220 USD). The more weeks purchased, the less the cost will be per week, for example if 13 or more weeks are bought then the price will only be €145 EUR ($160 USD) per week.

Language Art & Education Center

Located in the city center, The Language Art & Education Center is also a short walk from Golden Gate and Zoloti Vorota Metro Station. This school teaches a wide variety of languages. These include, Ukrainian, Russian, English, German, Turkish, and lastly, Swedish. The LAE Center also contains art exhibits and other educational resources. The price for a singular 60 minute lesson carries a price of ₴450 UAH ($19 USD) or ₴550 UAH ($23 USD) for 90 minutes. Specialized classes are offered for different prices. Such as business focused lessons that concentrate on topics like official communication, tips on business structure, and necessary business related terms. This business specialized course is offered for ₴500 UAH ($21 USD) for 60 minutes and ₴600 UAH ($25 USD) for 90 minutes.

Ideal International

Ideal International not only uses one location, but has offices all over Kyiv. Ranging from Poznyaki to Palats Sportu Metro Stations. This school offers an insane variety of languages. Languages like, Portugese, Chinese, Polish and of course, Ukrainian. The options for learning Ukrainian include, 60 minute Skype lessons for €10 EUR ($11 USD), and €15 EUR ($16 USD) for 90 minutes. Lessons can also be hosted at your home or another location of your choosing for €15 EUR ($16 USD). Ideal offers 16 group lessons for between ₴1250- ₴1500 UAH ($53-$63 USD). This school has a very large and qualified staff base that are fluent in many languages.

In conclusion, there are many great options for learning Ukrainian in the beautiful city of Kyiv. Each school listed here is different from all of the rest in small ways that can morph the language learning experience. Don’t be afraid to call these schools to learn more about their programs and options I recommend visiting the websites of all of these schools to decide which school is ideal for your Ukrainian language learning experience. Reading reviews and testimonials is a great way to determine the best options for learning.

Kyiv to Rename Street in Honor of Welsh Journalist Gareth Jones

Kyiv City Council has voted unanimously in favor of naming a city street in honor of Welsh journalist who was responsible for exposing Stalin’s early 1930’s genocide in Ukraine.

The location of the street is yet to be officially named but is expected to be Proectny Lane in Shevchenkivskyi district.

The recent Agnieska Holland film “Mr Jones” has brought worldwide attention to the 1932-1933 famine imposed by the Stalin regime and the man largely responsible for getting the story out of a closed USSR. In 1932 entering Russia on a journalist visa, Mr Jones eventually ditched his minders, getting off the train earlier than planned somewhere outside Kharkiv to see mass starvation. The dead bodies lining the streets and acts of cannibalism he witnessed were contrary to the positive official propaganda lines that were flooding world media at the time.

On March 29, 1933, he convened a press conference in Berlin, in which he publicly announced the catastrophic situation in Ukraine. The press release was reprinted by leading world publications, in particular the New York Evening Post and the Manchester Guardian.

Sadly, Gareth Jones was murdered soon after these events by a suspected Kremlin assassin in Mongolia.

Kyiv Property Market Update – December 2019

Kyiv Real Estate Prices Continues Upward

This article will focus on the secondary market rather than the new construction projects which rely on a number of supply/demand factors that aren’t as indicative of the overall economic picture.

November 2019 brought another advance in property prices in Kyiv as the general economic situation continued to improve. On a per meter basis, in US Dollars, prices now are back to where they were in April of 2016 ($1411/m²). This marks the 15th consecutive month of higher prices.

City center has seen the highest growth over the past year now reaching an average cost of $2110/m².

Kyiv property market average price – November 2018-November 2019 in USD


For November we again see that the real story is inventory which continues to evaporate, having been cut in half over the past 18 months and by -37% in just the past 12 months. The current inventory of 10538 units is the lowest within available records that date back to 2010. Just 16 months ago we are at 22,000.

When buying again picks up later in the year we could see the lack of available properties really begin to effect prices to the upside.

Previous month’s Kyiv Property market update can be found here

Wages in Ukraine up another +25% – Now up 3x since 2015

For 2019, Ukraine has both the #1 performing currency and sovereign bond market globally.

Average monthly wage in Kyiv is now $660, according to a statement by Economic Minister Timofei Milovanov today. Due to continuing favorable economic factors, salaries measured in local currency have increased +9.6% while the Hrvnia itself has appreciated+15% against the USD since January 2019.

From the low in February 2015 at the peak of the Russian invasion, Ukrainian average wages are now up +300% but still well below neighboring capital cities such as Warsaw ($1050/monthly) or Budapest ($1313/monthly).

For 2019 the Ukrainian Hrvnia has grabbed the #1 spot in terms of increased strength. Ukraine’s sovereign bond market has also taken first place globally as emerging market funds begin to come back to the country.

At the time of this writing USD/UAH rate is 24.03, a rate not seen since 2016.

Yearly comparison USD/UAH

From 2016-2019 Robbery crime in the Ukrainian Capital down -75%

In terms of robbery statistics, the city of Kyiv is now safer than Berlin.

Kyiv City Administration’s Yuri Nazarov is citing the improvement in city safety largely on the implementation of city-wide surveillance cameras. Other factors such as economic and employment improvement are probably contributing.

“Statistics confirm positive trends for urban security after the implementation of the system. According to the National Police, in 2016 there were an average of 16-17 robberies daily, and in 2019 – already 5, ”Nazarov said.

Considering the population of around 3.3 million, Kyiv is rapidly becoming one of the safest cities in Europe in terms of both volume and on a per capita basis. Citing Bundeskriminalamt’s official German crime statistics, Berlin’s (population 3.3 million) 4,242 reported robberies vs Kyiv’s 1825 is no comparison.

The video surveillance system in the capital has about 7000 cameras. They are installed on streets, entrances and exits from the city, near social facilities, shopping areas and architectural monuments.

How to Buy Real Estate in Ukraine

The process for non-residents to buy property in Ukraine is easier than any other country in Europe and MUCH easier than in North America. Here is a simple step by step guide.

#1 Choose a Broker

Unless you’re going direct to seller, you’ll need a real estate agent to show you several properties. Assuming here that you are in either Kyiv or Odessa there are basically 4 reputable agencies. All these will charge a commission as a percentage of sales price. Standard is 5% but this can usually be negotiated down to 3-4%.


Blagovist – Blagovist has about 50% overall market share, hundreds of agents and offices located throughout the city. They have English speakers on staff.

Park Lane – Owned now by Blagovist, offices throughout city, also with English speakers on staff.

Aim Realty – Small company but specializing in expat market.


Atlanta – Largest agency in Odessa. Odessa can be a little wild unlike Kyiv, so it’s best to stick with a larger company/reputation.

#2 Obtain Tax ID and Open Bank Account

After you’ve found the property you wish to buy, you’ll need to get a tax ID and open a bank account. This takes about 3 days and only needs to be done once.

Tax ID office for Kyiv is located at Leskova 4, in city center. Hours are Monday-Thursday 09:00-18:00 and Friday 09:00-16:00.

Bring passport, notarized copy of your passport which can be had at any notary for about $10, proof of address in Ukraine which is simply a letter from your hotel or AirBnB stating that you have accommodation.

Wait 3-4 days and you will be given a tax identification document. Take this to a large bank of your choice and open an account. To do this you’ll again need passport, notarized copy of passport and the same accommodation letter you used previously for the tax ID. Send your purchase funds to this account from abroad.

#3 The Purchase

The day of the purchase you will meet the real estate agent, seller and notary at your bank. You’ll either transfer funds to sellers bank account as documents are signed or most commonly the seller will prefer cash on site.

Taxes and fees are minimal in comparison to Western countries. There is a 1% pension fund tax, paid by seller and a 1.5% military tax. Normally these are split between buyer and seller. They might try to stick you with the whole thing assuming your ignorant of this fact. Don’t let that happen. The notary will need about $100-200 depending on purchase price. Your name is then registered into the registration database and you leave with your documents.

That’s it.

Recurring annual taxes are minimal and apply only if you own combined over 60 meters across as many properties that you may own, around $1.50/year per meter.


Kyiv property market continues to tighten

Things in the secondary market are getting interesting.
The drop in secondary market inventory for Kyiv residential apartments continues to show in prices which are currently up +15.2% YOY. With current inventory of listings down another -37% this trend will likely only increase in severity, continuing to push prices up.

Down from a peak of over 22,400 in March 2017, we are now sitting at 10,860 active listings with this year’s average monthly reduction being 516 units. If this trajectory continues, we are looking at a -50% inventory reduction for 2020. This can only be very price positive.