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Immovables on the move. Knight Frank experience Igor Roganovich
Immovables on the move. Knight Frank experience Igor Roganovich

Knight Frank is a major independent consultancy on the global realty market. Knight Frank headquarters are located in London and the central office of the strategic partner Newmark Knight Frank is in New York. Knight Frank global network has 207 offices in 43 countries of the world. Over 6340 professionals annually consult commercial and housing estate deals worth over 886 billion dollars. Company clients include private owners and realty buyers, as well as major developers, investors, and corporate clients. In Russia and Ukraine Knight Frank offers a full set of agent and consulting services in all segments of the realty market.

KNIGHT FRANK WORLD HISTORY (FACTS AND FIGURES)

1896: Knight Frank & Rutley Company founded.

1915: Mr. Cecil Chubb acquires Stonehenge for his wife for £6600 through Knight Frank & Rutley. After three years the wife handed over Stonehenge to England.

1922: The company engaged in the deal to sell the house of Winston Churchill and sold Chartwell to him.

1927: The company consulted the choice of a land plot for the London headquarters of world-famous BBC.

1980: Britannic House acquisition by BP for £93 million was the biggest realty deal on the English real estate market.

1981: Knight Frank arranged the sale in New York of the biggest in the world (by the number of rooms) hotel company Pan-American World Airways Intercontinental Hotels Corporation. The deal was worth $500 million.

1986: Qantas Centre in Sydney was sold for $200 million and was the biggest sales deal on the Australian realty market.

1996: On January 1 the company was renamed Knight Frank in the framework of the strategy to access the international realty market and to promote the brand across the world.

2005: Knight Frank consults concept design for the Olympic village in London. The project has to be completed by the Olympic Games in 2012.

2006: On January 1 Knight Frank signed a partnership agreement with Newmark, a leading U.S. realty company. The resulting union known as Newmark Knight Frank is appointed to consult office space lease in the Empire State Building, one of the best known Manhattan projects.

2009: Famed Moulin Rouge cabaret sold through Knight Frank. The deal was the biggest investment sale for Paris commercial realty market last year.

KNIGHT FRANK IN RUSSIA

The Russian history of Knight Frank began in 1996. One of Russian realty agencies decided after a crisis broke out to offer partnership to the distinguished international brand and develop the company on a new quality level. An agreement with Knight Frank on the creation of a Russian unit of the English brand on the basis of the Russian company was reached. The young Russian market is of major interest for Europe as it offers a possibility of rapid growth, which is difficult to achieve on stable European markets. Today the Russian office of Knight Frank occupies a leading position in professional ratings practically in all types of realty with which the company deals.

KNIGHT FRANK HISTORY IN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE

Facts

1996: the company comes to Russia.
2003: Knight Frank becomes a closed joint-stock company in Russia.
2004: Knight Frank opens office in St. Petersburg.
2006: Knight Frank opens office in Kiev.

Figures

– 60 000 visitors of the Russian website of the company www.knightfrank.ru every year.
– Over 1000 elite realty objects in the best areas of Moscow and the surrounding region.

Achievements

– In 14 years of operations in Russia over 30 exclusive office realty projects have been implemented. Since 2005 Knight Frank has participated in sales and lease deals with high-class office premises of a total space exceeding 650,000 square meters.
– 14 years running Knight Frank has been leading by the number and volume of deals on the market of warehouse and industrial realty in Moscow region and in the whole of Russia
– Knight Frank consulted the first institutional forward financing and forward purchase deal in Russia and the CIS.
– In the past four years Knight Frank implemented over 50 consulting projects for hotel and spa realty in Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Montenegro.
– Knight Frank was the first consultancy in Russia to introduce lofts – a new elite housing format.

We speak to Igor Roganovich, director of the housing estate department of Knight Frank.

– What is happening on the realty market today?

– We believe it is premature to speak about the end of the crisis. Compared with many foreign countries the Russian construction industry has been considerably affected by falling financing possibilities and consumer demand. I can cite an interesting example: it is known that any region with active construction is characterized by major accumulation of construction machinery. However leading European tower crane producers practically stopped deliveries to Russia last year while in previous years they supplied dozens of units. At the same time in Germany the companies that lease construction machinery are currently loaded to 120 percent.

The main problem of the construction industry today originated not because of falling consumer demand, but was mostly a result of risky strategy of the developers. The strategy mostly targeted aggressive and speculative sales boosted by growing prices and immediate reinvestment of sales proceeds into new objects and sites. The strategy was very efficient in conditions of available project financing, but it turned out to be completely unstable when the loan market shrank. It was possible to prevent a slowdown in the pace of construction if developers had their own financial resources.

– How did the crisis affect market participants?

– From the market point of view the crisis is health improving. The U-turn of the market from the seller to the buyer results in an adequate pricing policy and increased quality. Consumer demand has not disappeared and its volume depends on fair price. The main problem for our market at present is a shortage of good-quality supply which in 2008-2009 sharply fell because of a simple shortage of funds. Consumer does not want to buy uncompleted product, therefore many developers accustomed to shifting financial risks to the buyer were forced to suspend work.

– And what happened to investors?

– Present-day Russian realty market is not very attractive for professional investors as it is possible today to estimate market access risks and future price changes. In pre-crisis years the prices and rates were predictably growing 30-50 percent a year and the income was very attractive for speculators. Today prices have stabilized on the background of gradual demand recovery and realty objects are of interest only if you build them for yourself or use them as an instrument of mid or long-term investment. We shall wait and see which foreign investors will come to our market in the coming year. The investment capital that fed our market in the past three-four years has mostly moved to Central and Eastern Europe today.

– What is the 2010 and short-term forecast for real estate market?

– This is the year of the secondary market. The reason is simple: construction risks are high and private buyers want to minimize them and go to the secondary market. The shortage of primary market supply is considerable as commissioned space decreased after project financing market shrank. Thus, the recovery of the primary market will directly depend on renewed project financing as buyers are no longer active at the initial construction stage. The market growth potential remains considerable as major Russian cities lack a lot of good-quality housing. Moscow is oversaturated with offices and some regional centers are oversaturated with trade space. But we do not know a single town oversaturated with good-quality housing resource therefore the market has a considerable growth potential. However our price forecast is reserved. We do not predict landslide price growth and believe market recovery will be accompanied by a smooth price adjustment on the background of increased deal volumes.

– What is your company development strategy?

– We are interested in business development along promising guidelines, in maintaining and occupying leading market positions in priority segments of commercial and housing estate to the extent which their volume allows. If the market expands, we expand our share. If the market is stable we maintain our positions. We estimate our target market to be sufficiently large. It includes our company’s traditional high-quality and top-price construction, major territory development projects, and mountain and sea spas in the south of Russia. The quality of projects and the reputation of developer are of decisive significance for us as high price is no longer a key choice criterion in the new economic conditions. We stake on high transparency and honesty in relations with the buyer. The projects we offer bear no major risks and improve the quality of living conditions. We engage in activities on the basis of such positions.

By Vera MIKHALEVA

 
 
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