Searches For NYC Real Estate Spike From Russia And Britain

The Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump appear to be drivers for the searching surge in NYC real estate.

By Jeff Vasishta February 24, 2017

New York real estate appears to be having a love-hate relationship with much of the world. That, at least, is the conclusion from tech-focused real estate brokerage TripleMint. The British and Russians, in particular, appear to be dominating international searching for rentals and sales for the last two years, with the UK tops and Russia one place behind. Mexico, for reasons which appear obvious, plummeted in local NYC related searches.

Much of UK’s deep dissatisfaction with the Brexit vote and the likely business implications have made New York a natural second city to many in London’s financial and arts based sectors. The similarities are obvious—language, culture and business interests. The number of searches from the UK spiked more than 30 percent in 2016, with the majority of the increase coming in the four days after the Brexit referendum to leave the European Union, Triple Mint CEO David Walker said.

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That New York is on the radar from Brits looking to relocate is hardly news. New York’s Douglas Elliman Real Estate cemented a longstanding relationship with the brokerage firm Knight Frank of London in 2014, creating Douglas Elliman Fine Homes/Knight Frank Residential. Town Residential also opened an outpost in London the same year.

The Brit’s heightened interest in New York comes as many UK based financial firms start to contemplate relocating their London offices. Investment bank Goldman Sachs has been widely reported to be considering moving its offices to Frankfurt and New York. In total, the US investment bank could reduce its London staff from 6,000 to 3,000 under the plans, German newspaper Handelsblatt said.

Russia’s infatuation is for entirely different reasons. Donald Trump famously urged Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails during the general election run up and appeared to foster a kind of bromance with Russian President Vladamir Putin. His win caused Russians hone their search engines in on American real estate. Global real estate consultancy Knight Frank has registered a 35 percent surge in Russian inquiries on U.S. properties compared to last year, CNN Money reported.

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Most of the inquiries the agency handled reportedly fell between in the budget range of $500,000 to $5 million, with Miami and New York City attracting the most attention.

Marina Kuzmina, head of international sales at Knight Frank Russia, told CNN Money, “A few customers are interested in the opportunity to buy property in development projects of Donald Trump, and we have received requests from U.S. developers wishing to cooperate with Russia.”

Of course, Russian oligarchs have been buying high-priced New York real estate for years. But in the world of search engines, all clicks are equal, whether from a billionaire or a baker. The rise in Russian searches coincides with a presidential change and the probable changing of US policy towards Russia, ending sanctions on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea. And it appears the Russian fixation with all things Trump stretches back much further than his election win.

Dolly Lenz, a real estate broker in New York, said she sold about 65 units in Trump World Tower, a condominium tower at 845 U.N. Plaza in Manhattan, to Russian buyers looking for real estate investments in the late 1990s. “I had contacts in Moscow looking to invest in the United States,” Lenz told USA Today. “’What do you have to recommend?’ They all wanted to meet Donald. They became very friendly.”

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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