Expat Ukraine Forum

Expatriate Life => Q&A => Topic started by: free spirit on 18:55 12-Oct-2008

Title: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 18:55 12-Oct-2008
Forum members will probably be interested in this long article on the Ukrainian economy and the financial pressures the Ukraine is under: http://www.rgemonitor.com/euro-monitor/254001/ukraine_wobbles_as_the_financial_ground_beneath_it_trembles
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 20:08 16-Oct-2008
Dear people,

Now we know the Ukraine has some problems, but they seem under containment at the moment and IMF involvement may keep them under containment.

As far as property prices are concerned, Ukrainian prices are at multiples of what might seem sensible for the country, and so a slight devaluation of the h. is not really doing anything. I haven't got the exact figures. Did the h. move from 4.8 to 5.4 or similar sorts of numbers. But only a real devaluation would really make the Ukraine cheap - eg a hryvnia at 10 to the dollar, for example. [leaving aside that even with the hryvnia at 10 to the $, the Ukrainian properties won't be actually "cheap".]

My questions are

1) is there any chance of a maxi-devaluation?
2) how would the financial crisis affect property values themselves (even before conversion to $). Will the hryvnia value decline sharply? Does the 80% fall of the stockmarket, and problems next door in the Great Bear, mean that property values in hryvnia terms will go down a lot?
3) then, when you put a devaluation of the hryvnia side by side with a fall in the hryvnia value of property, ,what will be the impact on the $ values? Maybe the sorts of property of interest to foreigners will continue to be quoted in $'s with little movement of the needle despite other problems?

I suppose the key for me is not whether there can be a 10% fall in the $ value, say of house in the countryside with 30 mins of Odessa - which would not be enough for me - but whether the Ukraine could end up with Hungarian-level property prices.

Taking all these factors together, only a crisis of the greatest proportions could bring prices to the Hungarian level, and so generally speaking a Ukrainian crisis would just produce a smaller falll in property prices - but not enough to make the country "cheap".  Property is a funny market - when prices fall, most people just refuse to sell and stay put - so very large falls in value don't tend to happen quickly. 

Of course I know it would be bad for many people in the Ukraine to see maxi-devaluations etc, and I am not wishing any bad scenarios on anyone's personal finances, but trying to see what the news that the Ukraine is seeking IMF help actually means, in brass tacks, for the man on the street, or the foreigner on the dusty streets of Odessa.


Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 20:17 16-Oct-2008
Credit default swaps are a measure of how risky a country is. To insure $10m of Ukrainian debt against default for five years currently costs $3m upfront and $500,000 a year - a total of $5.5m. Almost as bad as those pricey credit card payment protector insurance scams in the UK!

See:

http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2008/10/16/after-iceland-who-is-next/?mod=googlenews_wsj
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 12:14 19-Oct-2008
For residential market I agree 100% with Mr. Skalinin (skalinin.blogpost.com):

The residential market is dead. I'm telling about middle and low segments. They will down, no doubt during next year.

Taking into the premium properties (real "premium"!) are lack of supply, I don't think that market will fall down. But you should forget about high price for low quality. Main topics in that market now:

1.No mortgage for near the future or crazy rates exceeding USD 20-22 %/y
2. 25% properties will be frozen (remember, no mortgages?)
3. Developers with 1-2 residential project will leave the market (time to buy them!)
4. Exchange rate rally 4.6-5.6 UAH/USD make the market unpredictable.
5. Possible personal and family expenses cut will suspend the purchases
6. Mortgages flow rate increasing for existing loans (it could be a personal disaster for many people, like in States)

I guess few people can imagine what can happen if all (or some of these) get real. Unfortunately we have not Federal Reserve or sort of that to save housing market.


What about Land prices?

The owners of large suburban plots began to massively ask them for sale. Land near Kiev in a rapidly losing value very quick. Owners of large pieces of commercial land are ready to concede the real buyers third of the price. Land already is not a tool for speculations.

Prices at suburban for the first time in the past seven years have stopped to grow, and in some cases even started to fall. According to Knight Frank, prices of large commercial land plots in 1H2008 decreased on average of 8%, and some of them even 25-30% down. At this spring large areas (several hectares) with access to the route on 10-15 kilometres zone from Kiev offered for USD 700-900 sqm. now owners have already agreed to sell them not more than 300-500 per 1 sqm.

The main reason – no buyers at all. No crazy income, no glammy speculations. Land owners put own assets up for sale. Huge land lots put up for sale from developers, who need funds for projects in progress. Land, which offers now has a speculative pricing, and we all know that. That’s why it is hot offers but no one need them. Therefore, in order to find a real buyer, you must put the price down significantly.

But owners in Obukhov district can sleep well: our tycoons still want to live there. Take a breath.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 12:47 19-Oct-2008
That person's English is very difficult to understand. I think I got the gist.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Vera on 15:02 19-Oct-2008
Azzice,

What whould you say a good price for a plot of land (20 соток) in about 1 hour drive away from Kiev now? How low would you say that might go in 6 months time or 1 year's time? Thanks for the info you posted, quite useful.
Do you know there region which is not far from kiev 1-1.5 hours drive yet good land by reasonable price?

Nik, what would be the price for such land plot (20 соток) in Odesskaya Oblast'?
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 15:07 19-Oct-2008
mmh

how many km from kiev borders? which direction?
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 15:10 19-Oct-2008

Nik, what would be the price for such land plot (20 соток) in Odesskaya Oblast'?

For what purpose V? 

Does it need to have electricity, gas and water, planning permission, or is it for your beloved self sufficiency agri-plot - the price difference would be reflective of the questions asked.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Vera on 15:20 19-Oct-2008
I am thinking in both directions- if it is not too far from Kiev then to buy and hold it for now and later buind a house there.
How good are lands near Odessa for agriculture I was thinking it would be great for my parents to relocate to the south when they both retire and have anough land to grow stuff there.
Of course utilities are highly desirable in both csenarions.
I am sort of really interested but of course as everyone else waiting for prices to go down.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 15:29 19-Oct-2008
i think you can fin something good for 30 usd/sqm... 60'000 USD for 20 sotka.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 15:33 19-Oct-2008
but of course it s better wait 6 month before taking any decision
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 15:57 19-Oct-2008
I can split the land prices down for you as follows then V with regards the immediate vacinity to Odessa City (no more than 10 km outside):

Land with utilities and central sewage:

In the "rich folkes side of town" it is around $18,000 per sotok.  


Land with utitilities but without central sewage (needing a pit for waste):

A few kilometers away from these areas (which are just as nice but do not have central sewage systems) it is about $8,000 per sotok

In both instances you will find it difficult to have adjacent land of the size you mention as the areas get released by Odessa in block for domestic construction.


Land without utilities but with planning permission:

$3000 - $4000 per sotok and enough land around it to meet your agricultural needs also as it is not a popular buy dependant upon the utilities scheduled inputting (if it is even on the list).




There is another option, depending upon your timescale which I am considering personally.  If you are still a Ukrainian citizen, (if not I am sure your parents are), there is a massive amount of city owned agricultural land soon to be sold within the Oblast about 1 hour from Odessa itself (I cannot tell you where in an open forum).  Obviously being foreign I cannot buy it, but Anechka can.  It will be sold at $6000 per hectare we have been told (or $6000 per 1 kilometer square for those not knowing how big a hectare is).  

My interest is in some of the land which runs along the main roads closer to the well populated area which already exists, as getting planning permission for this will be easier in the future, but we are talking about a MASSIVE area of agricultural land going up for sale.

As an investment, even for lease purposes for farm use, it seems to me to be a "no-brainer" with so much land for so little money.  To what extent I invest will be the question, as there are so many possibilities popping up here, in the UK and the USA which have caught my eye and unfortunately I cannot afford all of them.

It maybe that I approach this opportunity with the soon to be sold agricultural land as a "co-operative" to buy a lot of hectares with any others interested, as the price is so low and consider either leasing most and applying for PP on roadside land with a view to business centres or logistical centes for the produce.

Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Phasar on 16:05 19-Oct-2008
can I ask, whats a "sotok "  ???
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 16:08 19-Oct-2008
can I ask, whats a "sotok "  ???

100 square meters
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Vera on 22:24 19-Oct-2008
All the answers are really informative and the info is food for thought ,so to speak.
With winter coming and prices that are expected to fall I think I will wait and see what happens in the next 6 month and what the price dinamics is going to be and think about my strategy regarding this in, like ,February.
Everyone gets a thank you for being so helpful!
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: hotbmw on 01:13 23-Oct-2008
P-N, Azzice, i am also interested in investing in UA. i have been coming here for 3 years now and love this country.

What are your gut feelings on the property market over the next 6 months?
Is it quite possible that we could see 25% drops or?

Im interested in buying an old apartment that needs renovating. Maybe buying a 1 room apartment thats large enough to convert into a 2 room. Needs to be near a metro station (5 mins walk).
Was thinking near metro palats ukraina or obolon region. any thoughts guys?

Or any other regions i should look into guys?

Thank you in advance.
Robi
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Vera on 03:21 23-Oct-2008
The prices for a 1 room apt. in Kiev are still at $ 65-$ 120,000 and up level. I too check regularly. Before the financial crisis I used to hear that there was no way the prices would go down until Euro 2012. However, with all that is going on now I do not see how, unless things change for the better somehow, can the prices stay at this level. I understand it is almost impossible now to get mortgages, there are not as many jobs in Kiev now and I read an article about foreigners puling out their capital and leaving Ukraine (do not know if it is so or not) anyway, taking this all and other factors into account I do not see how the prices could stay at the same level.
Honestly ,if prices do fall by 25% ,still a 1 room apartment will then cost $75,000- I still do not see it as a good value for the money, it is unreasonable (but it's just me).
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: hotbmw on 04:15 23-Oct-2008
Hi Vera
Thanks for your info. I really appreciate it.
Are you monitoring any good websites in english that i can look at also?

Are you working in UA Vera?

I dont know, i think $75,000 for an apartment near the centre by a metro such as palats ukraina is fair value for a foreigner. I look at it this way:

- If i can convert a decent sized 1 room apartment into 2 rooms and renovate it to western standards (maybe spend $15,000 on renovations and some furniture) it will increase in value when the market recovers. (Im not looking at selling anytime soon so i can hold).

- I cant buy anything in my home country (australia) and get rental returns at 10% or more. If i buy for 75k and 15k for renovations - 90k cost, i could rent it out for at least $75 a night. Rent it 15 nights out of 30 (cant always be fully occupied of course) thats $1125 a month, $13,500 a year. A return of 15% a year (gross).
Or if you want you could say u could rent it out for a conservative $1000 a month to a long term tenant thats $12,000 a year, thats a 13.33% return p.a

- I dont expect capital growth in the near future but i do see massive capital growth in UA in many yrs to come. After Euro 2012, after it has the euro as its currency, after the next generation of leaders come through & get UA on track. It is Europes largest country (russia eurasia). The black sea coast has untouched resources, they can be self energy sufficient in the future. If i can buy at 25% off now close to centre, close enough to be appealing to foreigners visiting for tenancy, i think its a no brainer.

What do the experienced people here think? P-N? Azzice? others.

- I spend at least 4 months a year in UA and pay about $1400 a month for a nice place in the centre so my rental cost is lets $5600 a year to stay in UA (4 months).
If i stay for free for 4 months and rent it out the other 8 months i thnk its a wise investment (at 25% off).
That $5600 i dont need to pay a landlord would cover the bank loan interest for the year and the 8 months its tenanted it pays off my loan at over $1000 a month.

What do you think based on my situation?
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Vera on 04:34 23-Oct-2008
I based my rather primitive calculation on an average 1 room apartment ,say, in Darnitskiy rayon of Kiev.\
Basically it like 20-30 min by metro to the center of the city. At present such apt. costs around $100, 000, so then if you anticipate it to go 25% down then it will cost $ 75, 000.
The apartments in the center will be the very last to become any cheaper and if they will, not by 25 %.
So no, I do not think you will see an apartment in he center dropping in price that much and within 6 months at that. So when I said that I did not have apartments in the center in mind. Those are and for some time will be quite expensive.
And I monitor sources in Russian only, haven found any English language one yet :))
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: hotbmw on 04:46 23-Oct-2008
Ah ok. I thought you meant in the area i was hoping for.

I dont know, a 25% drop is not even bringing the market back 1 year, its bring prices back to where they were late 2007. Not a massive drop...

Maybe im just hopeful, i dont know. Any other thoughts?

I saw in aviso that there is a 25sqm 1 room apartment for sale now listed at $76,000. Its in pechersk, 1 block from the metro.

I dont know, im thinking if prices fall by 25% i may find a similar deal but at 40sqm. Well thats my hope/dream :)

Im not aware of that region Vera. Whats the name of the nearest metro?
Im looking forward to hearing other opinions also.

Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Vera on 04:52 23-Oct-2008
The nearest Metro station there is Kharkovskaya. It's an OK place for a local. I do no know if many foreigners would like like to be living there, though.
Anyway, I too would like to hear expert opinions but they will only wake up in about 2-3 hours, so will have to wait till then  :) :)
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 06:56 23-Oct-2008
I cannot give you advice on Kyiv I am afraid as I know little about the market there on the domestic accomodation side.

What I would say, is that if you are in a position to buy anything in a depressed market and wait without needing an immediate return, you are very likely to make a good return when the market recovers.

Without talking about Kyiv specifically (because I cannot), I believe that there is another 6 months of depreciation in the market before it plato's and eventually begins to rise again towards 2010.  I would not expect the rise this time to be as dramatic as it has been before with regards to the profit curve, but expect it to curve upwards in a more gradual manner than previously in Ukraine.  Again if you are in no immediate rush for big returns then this is no bad thing.

There will be certain areas of the domestic housing market which will "kick the market trend" as in any country.  In the US, there will be certain locations or parts of the property market which will lose only 5 - 10% of market value over a short time, compared to other locations which may lose 30% and never fully recover in 5 years.

Kyiv may be one of those areas, or specific areas within Kyiv may "buck the trend" and my knowledge of the Kyiv market does not allow for any serious guidance.

The refurbishment of the inside of the apartment (if there is no structural remodelling only decoration) will be in the region you suggest.  It certainly would be in Odessa, depending on the standard of fixtures and fittings you decide upon.  What I would say is with a $5 tile, even with a very good tiler, you would get a $10 finish.  With a $25 tile and a very good tiler, you will get a $100 finish.  This however depends upon your budget.

If you have an idea in your head as to what you would want when renting and wish to achieve it, that idea will be shared by many.  It may be that should you find your bargin apartment in the locaion you want and you will do little with it until you can save enough to reach the internal standard you want to achieve and budget for it.  I would advocate that you do not sacrifice the quality of finish for the case of speedy decoration particularly in the rental market.  If it looks like it cost a lot, your tenants are more likely to take care of it than if it looks like a cheap finish.

If you have any specific questions, I am happy to help you (ie. size of boiler (KW) for the heating and hot water based on size, number of windows, number and use of rooms, location of the apartment (north, south, east, west facing) double glazed or not etc etc. as they all make differences to the calculation and therefore size in KW of the system, or is it better to use plastic pipe over copper pipe in the long term etc.etc.

As for the Kyiv market, others can help you more than I.  :)
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 08:01 23-Oct-2008
Hi Hot. Your questions are quite complicated but i try to explain you my point of view in my bad english.

First of all nobody really know what will happen in the next future. We all know that the residential market in Kiev is very speculative and not transparent at all.

As I understand you are looking for an object in the secondary market (existent apartement which needs renovations). In my opinion in this segment it will be very difficult to hope in an immediate drop of 25% in prices. 25% drop can maybe be observed in new developments projects where developers need to sell their objects fast in order to recover their investments.

You can find something in english on this site: arcoreal.com.ua

In russian you can find some very helpful info on average prices on http://www.blagovest.ua/realtystat/show.lisp

As you can see the average price for 1sqm is about 3'000 usd even in the less attractive parts of the town....

As for the renovations i think 15'000 usd is really too little. It will also be very difficult to find a big 1 room apartment thats large enough to convert into a 2 room. In fact the vaste majority of such objects, during the communism where occupied by many people (1 or 2 family) therefore dividing walls are still in place....

In my opinion, if we really will see a massive drop in apartement prices during the next years, then the recovery could take even 10-15 years (see germany, japan, england or Italy exemples...)
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: hotbmw on 08:06 23-Oct-2008
Thank you P-N :)
That is exactly my scenario P-N. I am a frequent visitor (4 month stints) in UA so it makes sense to use my money to buy rather then giving it to a landlord. Especially if there is a downturn.

I only expect a long term appreciation in my investment. I may never ever sell. I have a girl there and we are in love so this is why i am also serious about this. Would be nice to spend the summers in UA and other 8 months or so in Australia.

I definitely will take your help if possible in the refurbishment area. And i definitely agree that it needs to be done properly.

How do u see Odessa in 10 years time P-N? If i cant buy in Kiev this would be my next choice. I just dont know what part would be best. Centre or Arcadia by the sea?

Are prices half that of Kiev or?

After i find something i would like to take your offer up on the renovations help. Happy to take you out for drinks or dinner or whatever in appreciation when im in Odessa.

I was a financial adviser up until some yrs ago and everything to me suggests there must be a downturn. No lending. Banks asking owners to pay up loans. High inflation, increasing cost of living. Over borrowing, unable to meet repayments. Job losses. Unstable government.....

Must be!
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: hotbmw on 08:13 23-Oct-2008
Thanks for your advice Azzice. And your english is good.

How risky is buying these new apartments? Do u mean the ones that are almost finished or one that is already finished?
I have heard lots of scary stories about buying off the plan (not finished apartments).

But u r right, this is definitely going to be the cheapest options.

Thanks i will take a look at that site now.

Logic suggests it must fall but who knows.....

Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 08:35 23-Oct-2008
Yes it can be risky especially now. In fact if you buy off plan you will not receive any property act before the completion of the object....al what you will receive is a sort of bond ( 8).... so if the company make bankrupt you risk loose all your money...
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 08:48 23-Oct-2008
Odessa is more predictable than Kyiv to some degree.  

As Azzice rightly points out, the new build appartments (and those currently under construction) will not appreciate the returns the builders were anticipating when they started the projects and as such, they are selling them more cheaply than anticipated in order to gain some form of capital return in the short term (either to stave off liquidation or to fund other projects) and there are defiante opportunities for someone who is prepared to "shop around" or "haggle" at the moment regarding new build.

I would think that in the current climate, buying "off plan" may have additional risks to those which are finished, existing and physically there for obvious reasons.

With it being such a massive tourist destination from May - September inclusive and in excess of an extra million people being here during that time, the rental market is very good for 6 months of the year and you would have no trouble whatsoever renting at $75 per night and more.

There is also a good chance of getting a decent sized apartment for anywhere between $120 - $150,000 which would meet the criteria you lay down if you are prepared to look and upon finding something, not delay in the purchase of it.

Typically here, rather than $3000 psm in Kyiv, you are looking at between $1300 psm and £1800psm dependent upon where in Odessa you want to be.

Arcadia and Fransuski Boulivard are more expensive than the city centre for the most part but there are good buys in these regions if you do your homework.  Shevchenko Park, close to Carl is also a very good part of the city to buy.

As for Odessa in 10 years time - it will remain a major tourist attraction for sure.  It now hosts numerous large cruise liners on a regualr basis with a lot of 50+ people from the US and UK visiting and returning the following year on a rental/hotel basis due to the cosmopolitan look and good weather.

Odessa's problem (although not yours in a rental market) is that it is still very much tourist orientated.  When you consider Odessa's top external investors from outside the CIS, it looks as though that will continue for a long time.  (In case you are wondering, the countries who invest the most capital in Odessa are Cyprus, Greece and Germany).

There is also the option for long term leasing here and there is a company I know (;)  ::)) who specialise in finding long term rental accommodation for foreigners (translating rental agreements, sorting out ultilities, internet connections etc etc) and that can also be an option for you.  They deal and are currently dealing with a large American firm who have just sent a "lead team" here with another 15 people to follow shortly.  As long as the flow of foreign companies continues to spill out of Kyiv to Odessa then this is a long term possibility - it remains to be seen if there is an effect in the long term due to the current/impending resession globally on this market though.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 09:17 23-Oct-2008
Another option you may want to consider either in Kyiv or Odessa, is finding a groud floor apartment facing a major road/thoroughfare and buying it with the intention of changing it's use to a commercial office.  Odessa (and I am fairly certain Kyiv will be) is desperately short of office space (affordable of otherwise).

In Odessa (speaking from experience), the current "administration fee  ;)" to change the usage to that of commercial office is $10,000. but it is simple to refurbish an apartment into an office.  The key is the location of course.  Facade on or very near a well used road with the ability to park outside and on the ground floor, so neighbours have no reason to complain about dozens of people blocking stairwells or cramming into lifts.

The return on a rental office is much higher than an apartment and normally for a longer and sustained period of time.  It also has a higher "sale value" or "rental value" psm than an apartment for domestic occupancy.

I am not sure how easy it would be to accomplish this in Kyiv as I do not know how many properties would meet the locational requirements and also how much and how easy it would be to get the "administrative" changes to the documents.  It would, as always in Ukraine, depend upon who you know, or who people you know, know.  :o :o :o

Just something else to consider if you see a bargain on the ground floor when you are looking.  :)
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: hotbmw on 11:23 23-Oct-2008
Lots of food for thought there guys. Thanks.

I wouldnt buy off the plan in UA. But maybe an apartment that is just finished but no buyers is an option.

My gut still tells me that there must be a decent correction so i will wait a few months.

P-N do u think $15,000 for a smallish apartment 40-50sqm is about right for a nice remont or more like 420,000?

Will have more replied an questions tomorrow :)
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 11:35 23-Oct-2008
It very much depends on the materials (fixtures and fittings) you want and where you get them.

It will also depend on where the apartment is - there is probably a difference between Kyiv and Odessa prices when working out labour costs psm.

I would only be able to answer that question more accurately if I had some idea of what you had bought in comparison to what you have in your head as an end result.

The last one I did cost $22,000 all in, but the standard of materials was in the low - middle range as requested by the owner.

I am currently starting on another refurb for someone (although there is a delay due to the owner wanting to double the size of the balcony and I am awaiting the amended documents to carry this out).  In the case of the current job, there is some structural work which is critical to the requirements of the client which will not provide you with an accurate measure without going into detail for you.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: hotbmw on 12:08 23-Oct-2008
oh great, so this is your actual field of expertise/profession? Ok i will get you to do mine also.

the one for $22,000, was it small in size or bigger than my intention of 40-50sqm?
sounds like i may need to set aside 20k.

do i need any permits or council approval for non structural renovations inside? i guess not if no structural? if i do need approval, is it a quick process?

also how long does it take on average to exchange contracts in purchasing a property? if i bought in march can i start renovating in april as the owner?

Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 16:46 23-Oct-2008
The one for $22,000 just short of 65 sqm and was complete standard decoration, new bathroom suit and kitchen, a little rewiring and plumbing and a few metal stud partitioned walls.  Ripped out and refitted in effect.

If you change the internal layout (even with stud wall partitioning which is not permanent) the techical passport of the apartment has to be amended to reflect the new divisions/rooms.

This is not a major issue (but takes about a month via "standard routes") to get the remeasurements done and new updated technical passport back.  Obviously this can be accomplished much faster  ;).

It is possible to buy a property in a matter of days.  The process is as follows:

The seller will show you proof of ownership and existing technical passport.  You and the seller then go to a notary and checks are made that they are still the owner and it is theirs to sell with the BTI for apartments, land registry for land and houses .

Upon confirmation you then empty your plastic bag full of cash on the table and it is counted and checked for counterfeit notes.

The seller will then write a letter in the presence of the notary stating they have sold the apartment to you.  The notary will then produce documents for the BTI to state that you are the new owner.  The old ownership documents are retained by the notary so the seller cannot sell again to someone else later that day  ::) ::) ::) 

You then take these documents to your local BTI who will make copies and confirm the sale with the central BTI in Kyiv.  New documents of ownership are produced and technical passport updated to state you are the owner.

That is it.

You can start your refurbishment at any time after the notary period, however it may be wise to wait a day or two (depending how fast you can get into your local BTI office) before you start.......with your updated paperwork in hand if necessary.

As for it being my profession - I have put up a building or two in my time  ;)
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: hotbmw on 12:17 24-Oct-2008
Thats great P-N, i definitely will go with u when i buy.

Last renovation question, how hard is it to get approval to knock down a wall in a floor plan? is it usually a no no in UA based on support structure issues or is 1 wall in general usually ok?

Now that the UAH is sitting around 6.00 to 1 USD, and it seems the expectation is that it will settle around 6.00 to 6.50 how does this affect apartment prices?

Meaning, lets use a $100,000 apartment for simplicity reasons.

2 months ago if someone sold a $100,000 apartment that would equate to about 500,000 UAH

Now it equates to about 600,000 UAH and could be up to 650k in the near future.

If UA is really hurting in the coming months & there is an influx of properties on the market not selling and the UAH is sitting consistantly at 6.00 or 6.50,  do you think apartment prices sold in US$ may adjust inline with the UAH?

i.e. 100k US could be 650,000 UAH but not selling
in turn previous expectation of 500,00 UAH which was 100k is now only $77,000 to get a return of 500,000 UAH.

do u know what i mean?
do u see this as another reason why prices may fall?
could this affect the market also?
it would also have to push up inflation if the UAH keeps dropping to the US wouldnt it?

thoughts?

 

Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 13:25 24-Oct-2008
I only work in Odessa and although I can give you advice, if you buy in Kyiv look to azzice for both guidance and doing the work (if it falls within his remit/interest).  If not he will know locals in Kyiv who will do it for certain.

You will find it (depending on your language skills) of huge assistance to have a builder who speaks English not simply to answer your questions regarding how and why, but who will also understand your "desires" when it comes to the materials and finish you require in your apartment.

With regards to the removal of internal structural (supporting) walls, the official way is to take your plans and technical passport to the BTI and inform them of the plan.  The city architect and structural engineers will then tell you what you must do in respect of reinforcement where the wall is to be removed.  They will come out and check that these changes have been made in accordance to their guidelines (officially but seldom do) and provide you with an updated and certified technical passport in respect of these changes.  The fee is in the region of $6000.

This is however Ukraine, and any law and regulation is enforced "ad hoc" and not necessarily understood by the enforcing bodies leaving matters open to interpretation.  What is ok in Odessa, may not be ok in Kyiv or Lviv or vice versa.

In Odessa the "general rule" is that structural reinforcement is supported by a column every 5 meters should you want to make a large open plan by removing an entire internal supporting wall.  This is well within the critical forces for a 20 centimetre concrete floor.  If the apartment is new, then the floor will have a concrete floor in excess of 20 centimeters providing very safe parameters.  If it is old, it may have wooden beams/joists as per traditional houses in the USA.  Depending upon the condition and size of these beams 5 meters is about maximum.  Again, the builder, city architect and structural engineer will keep you right.

It is common (but not lawfull) for people to knock a whole through a structural wall for a doorway without informing the BTI.  The reprocussions (as long as the doorway is reinforced by an RSG/RSJ) are normally zero UNTIL they want to sell it and have a technical passport which does not have the doorway listed or the work is substandard and will lead to fines and costly repairs.  This can delay the sale considerably.

Ukraine is a strange place when it comes to market forces.  Many Ukrainians will think of a figure in their head (justified or not) and stick with it regardless.  Others are much more pragmatic and will allow a little room for maneouvre (whether it be due to personal circumstance or financial awareness on an international scale).

At the moment, the market is in favour of the buyer, rather than the seller (which is how it was for the past few years).  That said, Ukrainians are a very practicle race and used to delaying plans due to external circumstance for years on end.  It is difficult to predict if someone selling would take their apartment off the market in these times and decide to stay put, rather than continue with a sale and achieve less than they wished for.  The biggest savings (as stated) will be on new build due to builders trying to release captial for the immediate term.

Outside of the economic factors the only other real reasons that I personally could see having an effect on price would be the extremely unlikely event of agression by Russia (or another) or the split of Ukraine internally due to the east and west facing factions therein should NATO membership or another eastern facing block be entered into against the will of the populous.  The later is also unlikely but is more probable than any external agression IMHO at present.  That said things can change as rapidly here as anywhere.

Lastly, prices for new build may also fall due to the lack of metal exports and world demand.  As it is a major contributor to the GDP of Ukraine and therefore plentiful, lack on external demand may make internal demand cheaper to purchase due to the surplus which will build up.  That will also be true of concrete (due to the falling price of cement if demand slacks).  These factors will not have an immediate effect on older apartments unless those occupants see the chance to buy a new apartment cheaply if they can sell their own.  Time alone will tell on that issue.

Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 08:21 26-Oct-2008
It is interesting to compare the ex-Communist countries and the West. In some ways, the ex-Communist countries are not as poor as GDP figures would show.

What I mean is that the UK would seem on paper to be very rich per capita. But most young people are starting from zero when they go looking for property. The average wage in the UK is not enough to get a mortgage to buy a property (maybe for a back-to-back property with a downstairs bathroom in a northern industrial town), and even a couple both on the average wage are struggling to get anything decent. We are taxed to high heaven - yes we get free healthcare as a result and more security.

In China, where I am, and I think the cities of Russia and the Ukraine are the same - most people in the cities have flats they got in the Communist era. In China they paid truly peppercorn rates to buy their old-style flats in the 1990s - and so they begin half-way up the property ladder. They have something to sell, which might be valued at $70,000 now that a market in property has opened up. They have no mortgage on it. They pay no council tax. They don't even pay property insurance like we do in the UK. They generally pay no tax. True, they have to pay for their healthcare - but as a young person who probably won't need much healthcare for decades, you can just buy cheap insurance in case of true emergencies and leave that to chance. All their money can be saved or spent. If they save up for a few years, given the value in their old-style flat given to them by the government, they can easily trade up to a new-built modern apartment. They are not starting from zero like we are in the UK.

The Ukraine may have a GDP per capita of $2,000 or $3,000 - I am sorry I have not looked up what it is, please correct any false figures - but I expect it is the same as in China. Most people got virtually given a Soviet era flat. They didn't work to pay for that flat - it just fell into their laps, and puts them a few rungs up in the property ladder. Now, it may be different for the peasants, but that is another story. The urbanites' wages are low, but tax non-existent. What was given them for nothing could be worth $200,000 today or more.

So looking at salary alone, you can't really grasp that in terms of assets the ex-Soviet countries' citizens are not starting from zero. If you look at our industrial revolution in England, we had to drag ourselves up slowly. I suppose the clearest equivalent to what has happened in E. Europe is the sell off of the council houses in the UK. If you were lucky enough to have liven in a £70,000 council house for 20 years, the council might sell it to you for very, very little. My grandparents lived in a council house for many years, and were offered it by the council for £12,000 - it was worth £60,000 back then, and my granddad kept begging the grandchildren to raise very little money each to buy it for him from the council and then inherit it when he passed away, but we were too clueless to do so. So some proportion of the English working class had assets just fall into their laps, but it was by no means universal, and the amount you paid depended on how long you had lived there.

This is the way I can understand the Ukraine, China and other countries in the East. Their wages are low, but a greater proportion of it is disposable. Chinese people never understand when I try to say "yes, our wages are on paper much higher than yours, but tax consumes at least one-third, then there is the rocketing council tax, then there are rocketing utility bills, because the UK govt does not intervene like the Chinese to protect domestic users of power, then there are rocketing train fares, then there is the fact that almost everything is priced roughly twice the US price, and in the end... a large number of UK citizens have huge personal debts". The Chinese generally have squirrelled away significant savings - how can we English in asset terms often be poorer than they?
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: BritKyiv on 10:06 26-Oct-2008
Your observations are about right.
I too have had this kind of discussion with Ukrainians. Most people in Kyiv are "Property Owners" and obtained this property at a very low price (although some of it is really crap). They fail to understand that in developed countries in the west, you do not get given a property for a few hundred dollars.
Although those days are long gone in Ukraine, you are right that it has given many people a big step up the ladder. I know many Ukrainains aged between 35-45 who own more than one apartment in Kyiv plus a land plot. I point out to them that most people in the UK would be "cock a hoop" about owning more than one of any property.

Even my wife recently "forgot' that she owns the apartment her grandmother lives in :o

I am one of those you refer to coming from " a northern industrial town" and I can honestly say that NO ONE ever gave me anything. My parents had the opportunity to buy their council house from the government in the early 1980's for UKP 7,000 ($14,000), but didnt have the money. They only bought it because yours truly stuck his neck out for a mortgage.

BUT, its also a similar situation in Ukraine now, mainly in Kyiv and the other five major cities.
The aspiring 'middle class' put their heads above the parapet and obtained big mortgages to buy better apartments/houses and they took the money in USD. Now they are suffering some.

However, in my opinion (and many people in banking agree), that Ukrainians do not worry so much about credit as it is all a new expereince to them. They have never been through it before. They have no moral obligations. If they cannot pay.......its someone else's problem.

The next few months willbe interesting in Ukraine.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 10:22 26-Oct-2008
You are quite correct FS - it is a situation I am constantly explaining to the good lady.  She has no concept of a 25 - 30 year debt for a home which you will eventually own (if the wind is blowing the right way) or the concept to trading up and increasing that debt.

She also does not truely grasp the fact that even as little as $100,000 in the bank, in the UK is deemed a lot of money.  Here, if truely in the sh*t, I could go around all the family and most have between $5,000 and $20,000 in cash in the apartments at any given time on any given day - I could therefore raise that amount of money from them in an evening should circumstances put me in such a desperate position.......and it would be given no question.

To her (and many Ukrainians like her) $100,000 is NOT A LOT of money although it is not to be "sneezed at".  

That said, Ukraine and much of the FSU is a cash not credit economy since the collapse and as you rightly point out, given almost free housing, ineffective tax collection and therefore little in the way of outgoings for those who benefitted from this at the time (and as you say many also did not), transfering the "paper wealth" of the west into the "cash wealth" of the FSU and China is a difficult concept which needs consistant reminding in our house.

I have to laugh at BK's comment too - Anechka owns the apartment her mother lives in and never mentioned it to me for 2 years........until I had a foreign friend in Odessa who needed an address to be registered at for the OVIR - it has now become a bit of a cash cow with half of the English speakers in Odessa registered at the apartment for a fee  :D :D :D :D



Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 17:48 26-Oct-2008
I like the idea of the freedom from government control a cash economy gives. I downloaded this attachment from the UK HM Revenue and Customs site, and it sets out UK public finances. See tab C4.

Actually, if government revenue had not been hiked so much in the UK, you can see it would have been possible to eliminate income tax entirely. In 2001/02 UK revenue (central and local government) was £389.4bn, and this has been hiked to £547.2bn in 2007/08 - don't tell me there has been a corresponding improvement in the quality of services. A lot of this extra spending has gone on admin and nothing. It is only a six-year period - and the difference of £157.8bn exceeds income tax revenue. Alternatively, just by setting expenditure back to where it was 6 years ago, you could wipe out national insurance and the council tax and cut corporation tax by two-thirds in one go!

We have got used to being "done" in the UK. People who have no pension have to pay tax to keep retired civil servants, penpushers at taxpayer largesse during their careers, in a comfortable retirement on 100% pensions. Apparently all the parties agree with this - including the Tories.

Any chance that you could put expenditure back a few years by wiping out bureaucracy has been torpedoed by the financial crisis of course, as we have now "invested" hundreds of billions in various banks...

But I like to fiddle with the XLS and imagine a better way of running society!
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Carlusha on 18:23 26-Oct-2008
Now that is a post that I can identify with having had my private pension screwed along with many others. God alone knows how those retiring shortly will be hit since most UK private pensions are unit-linked and invested in stocks and shares.

The spreadsheet very clearly shows the mess the current government has made of UK plc.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 22:38 26-Oct-2008

The Ukraine may have a GDP per capita of $2,000 or $3,000 - I am sorry I have not looked up what it is, please correct any false figures - but I expect it is the same as in China. Most people got virtually given a Soviet era flat. They didn't work to pay for that flat - it just fell into their laps, and puts them a few rungs up in the property ladder. Now, it may be different for the peasants, but that is another story. The urbanites' wages are low, but tax non-existent. What was given them for nothing could be worth $200,000 today or more.



To her (and many Ukrainians like her) $100,000 is NOT A LOT of money although it is not to be "sneezed at".  


Sorry guys. But reading your messages it seems like ukrainians are privileged by comparison with westeners...

This is totally wrong.

First of all we lived in communism. I dont think you can imagine what really was and how it was hard. Then Perestrojka, again i m not sure you can imagine what kind of sacrifices during that period. Then our nation literally collapsed...

I m sorry, but absolutely NOTHING fell in our laps. As many others in this country i ve lost EVERYTHING i had. Step by step we ve rebuilt something decent, working hard day and night.

Maybe for THIS reason we are today stronger and we dont worry that much about this situation, and not because ( i quote) They have no moral obligations. If they cannot pay.......its someone else's problem...

Unlike what is happening in Western Countries we were not responsible for our situation. If people ask for a credit for holidays and cars and Banks grant money for such whims...the system is sick and fated to collapse..

always in my humble opinion of course
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Phasar on 22:50 26-Oct-2008
Sorry Azzice I have to disagree with one of your comments

Quote
always in my humble opinion of course

Your opinions are always valued and I think you raise some valid points  ;D
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 07:45 27-Oct-2008

The Ukraine may have a GDP per capita of $2,000 or $3,000 - I am sorry I have not looked up what it is, please correct any false figures - but I expect it is the same as in China. Most people got virtually given a Soviet era flat. They didn't work to pay for that flat - it just fell into their laps, and puts them a few rungs up in the property ladder. Now, it may be different for the peasants, but that is another story. The urbanites' wages are low, but tax non-existent. What was given them for nothing could be worth $200,000 today or more.



To her (and many Ukrainians like her) $100,000 is NOT A LOT of money although it is not to be "sneezed at".  


Sorry guys. But reading your messages it seems like ukrainians are privileged by comparison with westeners...

This is totally wrong.

First of all we lived in communism. I dont think you can imagine what really was and how it was hard. Then Perestrojka, again i m not sure you can imagine what kind of sacrifices during that period. Then our nation literally collapsed...

I m sorry, but absolutely NOTHING fell in our laps. As many others in this country i ve lost EVERYTHING i had. Step by step we ve rebuilt something decent, working hard day and night.

Maybe for THIS reason we are today stronger and we dont worry that much about this situation, and not because ( i quote) They have no moral obligations. If they cannot pay.......its someone else's problem...

Unlike what is happening in Western Countries we were not responsible for our situation. If people ask for a credit for holidays and cars and Banks grant money for such whims...the system is sick and fated to collapse..

always in my humble opinion of course

If it seems as though Ukrainians are seen to have it easy from our posts then, certainly from my part it has been misinterpreted.

I will stand by my statement you quoted as for Anechka, many of her friends and family and many of the business people we do business with, it is absolutely true.  I did not of course say "Ukrainians" or "All Ukrainians" in the statement but "her and many Ukrainians like her" - there will be many Ukrainians who are not like her also.

Anybody who lives here, even now,  would not say Ukrainians have it easy.  Every day everybody here has to be a fight to get anything done which involves the services provided by Ukraine or the city they are in with the exception, in most cases, of public transport which runs like clockwork 99% of the time.  Even posting a letter can be a nightmare.

Many "logistical and state run institutions" have not seemingly changed whatsoever since communist times, neither has the mentality of those who control it more often than not, during their working day.

My good lady, although she did not lose her apartments during the time of the collapse of communisim, lost every kopec she had in the bank collapse of 1998, as did Carl's wife and probably yourself and millions of others.

You are right, the next day she, and probably many throughout the FSU, just rolled up her sleeves and went back to work but this time worked half as long again, every day, to recover what she had lost and even relocated to Moscow to achieve this (even though she doesn't like Moscow as a place to live).

I am not saying anything fell into the lap of any Ukrainian, even the most corrupt, as everything has to be worked for, even if the work involves positioning yourself to make the most of a system in disarray for the purpose of effective corruption.

FS was making the point that the collapse of communism in the FSU and the slow relinquishing of the power of the state in China, led to many people having the opporunity to own property at a price way below market value.  This value has now been realised by the owners in the much more capitalist system the FSU and China are in.

For my part, this is not a critisism, neither does it belittle the grief and struggle under the communist system.  It is an opportunity which was given to the citizens of the FSU which was not given to those of the West, as many have never lived under a system close to that of the FSU.  Most would probably prefer to have their 25 years mortgage debt than to have lived within the FSU system.

It could be morally argued that the property bought at little cost in recent years had been mortgaged by the suffering and hardships of the generations preceding those who benefitted, making the human cost (rather than financial cost) far higher in many cases. 

Nobody gets anything for nothing, there is always a price to pay, be it a communist, fascist, socialist or capitalist society.  The difference maybe how we measure that cost.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 08:01 27-Oct-2008
Well, your saying how people after the 1998 crash just had to roll up their sleeves and start again, reminds me that in England we traditionally admired people who, in the words of Rudyard Kipling, "lost everything in one game of pitch and toss, and never breathed a word about the loss". I am afraid we are much more whiny now!! If anyone lost anything, you would never hear the end of it. These headlines in the UK press screaming "Doom from  now on! House prices down by another 1%!" typify it! No one thinks that the trebling of house prices over a few years recently will be reversed, but the fact that there has been a 12% fallback in all is deemed to be a disaster... We don't seem to be able to take losses in perspective any more, let alone roll up our sleeves and start life anew...
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Carlusha on 08:48 27-Oct-2008
Fair point but not so for the pensioners and the not so young.  :'(
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 09:00 27-Oct-2008
Well, your saying how people after the 1998 crash just had to roll up their sleeves and start again, reminds me that in England we traditionally admired people who, in the words of Rudyard Kipling, "lost everything in one game of pitch and toss, and never breathed a word about the loss". I am afraid we are much more whiny now!! If anyone lost anything, you would never hear the end of it. These headlines in the UK press screaming "Doom from  now on! House prices down by another 1%!" typify it! No one thinks that the trebling of house prices over a few years recently will be reversed, but the fact that there has been a 12% fallback in all is deemed to be a disaster... We don't seem to be able to take losses in perspective any more, let alone roll up our sleeves and start life anew...

I would agree that we have become a very "whiny nation" and our perspective as a nation has become "skewed".  That of course does not apply to every individual but to the general collective.

We have followed down the path of "ambulance chasing", "political correctness" and "service industry" to the point where the nation has become "soft" compared to those like Ukraine which is, at present, diametrically opposed with little service industry compared to its production and manufacturing industries, minimal political correctness and the system "to chase the ambulance" is so difficult to accomplish that it is seldom persued.

If the government in the UK fell apart like it has in Ukraine, there would be chaos, riots and anarchy.  Ukraine carries on regardless as indeed it should.  The fact that a house price in the UK has fallen 12% makes (realistically) little difference to those who bought it to live in it, as long as they can make the repayments.  It is first and foremost a home, somewhere for you and your family to shelter from the elements and have some form of privacy.  It is laterly an investment.

That is how I view my home in Ukraine - home.  I personally am not in the least bit concerned if it depreciates in value 50%, as I have no intention of selling it now or in the forseeable future.  It is not mortgaged, I have no loans or credit of any kind.  Therefore it is mine with nothing secured against it.  It was not a bought and built as a financial investment but for somewhere to put me and mine.

I know the intrinsic value will go up and down several times before I die and it will eventually become an asset to the children but I have no control over the value it will have when it does.  It is no reason for the world to end because it has lost value today, when tomorrow it could gain in value.

Unlike Ukraine, the UK (as well as many other nations) has lost perspective on many things and everything is viewed from an "asset/investment value" perspective rather than its "practical value" during a life time.  There are a massive raft of reasons for this change in physcy of course and they are probably better discussed in another thread as they have little direct and current relevance to the situation in Ukraine today, though that I expect will change in the future.

I am not a socialist by nature, neither am I a neocon.  Both major parites in the UK today are not "socialist", neither are the two presidential candidates in the US.  None of them display or proport socialist policy.  In my view Labour (and the Democrats in the US) are just right of centre, the Tories (and GOP are right of centre) but none are recognisably left or socialist.

The same can be said of Ukrainian politics.  Yushenko is nationalist and right of centre, Yucanovich is nowhere near socialist in policy and dependent upon individual policy is either right or left of centre but with no central bias and Tymoshenko is hard to read and at best (aside from her own personal profiteering) is centre.  What they cannot change is that Ukraine, because of it's resources, for the forseeable future will be a "dirt and grit" economy where life for those involved does not make for a "whiny" electorate.





Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Green Borsch on 17:38 27-Oct-2008
Not for the 1st time one of your posts make me raise an eyebrow by the sheer pomposity of your thoughts.

If you truly beleive that the 2nd paragraph is typical of the average Ukrainian family you are either completely out of touch or just plain deluded.  ???

Most Ukrainian people I know havent got a clue what $100,000 will ever look like so I would suggest not for the first time you are merely playing the big shot with such "out of touch" comments. 

You are quite correct FS - it is a situation I am constantly explaining to the good lady.  She has no concept of a 25 - 30 year debt for a home which you will eventually own (if the wind is blowing the right way) or the concept to trading up and increasing that debt.

She also does not truely grasp the fact that even as little as $100,000 in the bank, in the UK is deemed a lot of money.  Here, if truely in the sh*t, I could go around all the family and most have between $5,000 and $20,000 in cash in the apartments at any given time on any given day - I could therefore raise that amount of money from them in an evening should circumstances put me in such a desperate position.......and it would be given no question.

To her (and many Ukrainians like her) $100,000 is NOT A LOT of money although it is not to be "sneezed at".  

That said, Ukraine and much of the FSU is a cash not credit economy since the collapse and as you rightly point out, given almost free housing, ineffective tax collection and therefore little in the way of outgoings for those who benefitted from this at the time (and as you say many also did not), transfering the "paper wealth" of the west into the "cash wealth" of the FSU and China is a difficult concept which needs consistant reminding in our house.

I have to laugh at BK's comment too - Anechka owns the apartment her mother lives in and never mentioned it to me for 2 years........until I had a foreign friend in Odessa who needed an address to be registered at for the OVIR - it has now become a bit of a cash cow with half of the English speakers in Odessa registered at the apartment for a fee  :D :D :D :D




Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 17:59 27-Oct-2008
Not for the 1st time one of your posts make me raise an eyebrow by the sheer pomposity of your thoughts.

If you truly beleive that the 2nd paragraph is typical of the average Ukrainian family you are either completely out of touch or just plain deluded.  ???

Most Ukrainian people I know havent got a clue what $100,000 will ever look like so I would suggest not for the first time you are merely playing the big shot with such "out of touch" comments. 

You are quite correct FS - it is a situation I am constantly explaining to the good lady.  She has no concept of a 25 - 30 year debt for a home which you will eventually own (if the wind is blowing the right way) or the concept to trading up and increasing that debt.

She also does not truely grasp the fact that even as little as $100,000 in the bank, in the UK is deemed a lot of money.  Here, if truely in the sh*t, I could go around all the family and most have between $5,000 and $20,000 in cash in the apartments at any given time on any given day - I could therefore raise that amount of money from them in an evening should circumstances put me in such a desperate position.......and it would be given no question.

To her (and many Ukrainians like her) $100,000 is NOT A LOT of money although it is not to be "sneezed at".  

That said, Ukraine and much of the FSU is a cash not credit economy since the collapse and as you rightly point out, given almost free housing, ineffective tax collection and therefore little in the way of outgoings for those who benefitted from this at the time (and as you say many also did not), transfering the "paper wealth" of the west into the "cash wealth" of the FSU and China is a difficult concept which needs consistant reminding in our house.

I have to laugh at BK's comment too - Anechka owns the apartment her mother lives in and never mentioned it to me for 2 years........until I had a foreign friend in Odessa who needed an address to be registered at for the OVIR - it has now become a bit of a cash cow with half of the English speakers in Odessa registered at the apartment for a fee  :D :D :D :D





As posted in a subsequent post after that:

"I will stand by my statement you quoted as for Anechka, many of her friends and family and many of the business people we do business with, it is absolutely true.  I did not of course say "Ukrainians" or "All Ukrainians" in the statement but "her and many Ukrainians like her" - there will be many Ukrainians who are not like her also."

 
I have commented only her and the circle of friends and business people she moves in - I will say again I did not say "Ukrainians" or "All Ukranians" - I have lived here a few years now and am fully aware that this is not the case for everyone. 

It was a comment based soley upon her social circle and family circumstance.  As I my work involves dealing with local building gangs and a high number of unskilled labourers I am probably in a financially far worse off daily social circle than she or her friends would care to be in.   
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Vera on 18:05 27-Oct-2008
I guess this speaks of how wide the income gap in Ukraine really is. The overwhelming majority of people will, like you said, never have a clue of what $100,000 look like but then there are those who drive cars that cost about that much. If their car costs that much, one can only imagine how much money they got in heir bank accounts.
The majority are just getting by. Indeed ,people of older generation, in a way, are in a position of some advantage as they did receive their apartments for free during soviet times, these people suddenly own apartments in Kiev that are worth $100,000- $300,000 on the market. It is ironic though that a babushka in Kiev might be sitting on an asset worth $200,000 and lives on a pension of $ 200 a month. Although, I know people who are retired and sold their apartments in Kiev and then bought better ones in the Crimea and are now securely retired with enough money to lead normal life.
Anyway, the gap is indeed staggering, as most young families will never be able to afford to buy an apartment of their own, while some own multiple rental properties and such. As we all know such gaps eventually bring a lot of political instability in the country (but then again there is enough of instability even now).



Not for the 1st time one of your posts make me raise an eyebrow by the sheer pomposity of your thoughts.

If you truly beleive that the 2nd paragraph is typical of the average Ukrainian family you are either completely out of touch or just plain deluded.  ???

Most Ukrainian people I know havent got a clue what $100,000 will ever look like so I would suggest not for the first time you are merely playing the big shot with such "out of touch" comments. 

You are quite correct FS - it is a situation I am constantly explaining to the good lady.  She has no concept of a 25 - 30 year debt for a home which you will eventually own (if the wind is blowing the right way) or the concept to trading up and increasing that debt.

She also does not truely grasp the fact that even as little as $100,000 in the bank, in the UK is deemed a lot of money.  Here, if truely in the sh*t, I could go around all the family and most have between $5,000 and $20,000 in cash in the apartments at any given time on any given day - I could therefore raise that amount of money from them in an evening should circumstances put me in such a desperate position.......and it would be given no question.

To her (and many Ukrainians like her) $100,000 is NOT A LOT of money although it is not to be "sneezed at".  

That said, Ukraine and much of the FSU is a cash not credit economy since the collapse and as you rightly point out, given almost free housing, ineffective tax collection and therefore little in the way of outgoings for those who benefitted from this at the time (and as you say many also did not), transfering the "paper wealth" of the west into the "cash wealth" of the FSU and China is a difficult concept which needs consistant reminding in our house.

I have to laugh at BK's comment too - Anechka owns the apartment her mother lives in and never mentioned it to me for 2 years........until I had a foreign friend in Odessa who needed an address to be registered at for the OVIR - it has now become a bit of a cash cow with half of the English speakers in Odessa registered at the apartment for a fee  :D :D :D :D




Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 18:29 27-Oct-2008
I guess this speaks of how wide the income gap in Ukraine really is. The overwhelming majority of people will, like you said, never have a clue of what $100,000 look like but then there are those who drive cars that cost about that much. If their car costs that much, one can only imagine how much money they got in heir bank accounts.
The majority are just getting by. Indeed ,people of older generation, in a way, are in a position of some advantage as they did receive their apartments for free during soviet times, these people suddenly own apartments in Kiev that are worth $100,000- $300,000 on the market. It is ironic though that a babushka in Kiev might be sitting on an asset worth $200,000 and lives on a pension of $ 200 a month. Although, I know people who are retired and sold their apartments in Kiev and then bought better ones in the Crimea and are now securely retired with enough money to lead normal life.
Anyway, the gap is indeed staggering, as most young families will never be able to afford to buy an apartment of their own, while some own multiple rental properties and such. As we all know such gaps eventually bring a lot of political instability in the country (but then again there is enough of instability even now).




I would agree V - for every affluent friend in her circle I probably have 3 or 4 labourers working with me who come here from outside the major cities, sleep in half built houses regardless of weather and who don't know what $5000 looks like.  They work much harder (at least physcally) than any in that "clique" which have money.  That is not to belittle some in the "clique" who do work long hours of course, some, however, you have to wonder where it comes from.

Fortunately GB, some of my income is from mixing the same concrete, in the same weather, for 12 - 14 hours a day at the same time as those who sleep in half built houses here in Odessa, only to have the semi-rich Ukranian client try to screw you for free work at every given opportunity, so I can say my feet are firmly on the ground (unless I am up a scaffold  ;)). 
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: SteveH on 18:36 27-Oct-2008
I Cannot see how Anyone can Deny that,
Any Person who Lives within 2 Miles of Independance Square,Kiev has been Sitting on at least $100,000 worth of property since 2004,
Property that they were given by the State 1990`s ?? (Correct me if i am Wrong Azzice)

My Freind got offered $2,500 per Month to Vacate and Rent out his 2 Bed Apt in Mikhailovsky Pereoluk,so he Upped and Moved his Family to Cheaper property a few Miles over the other Bank of the River.

There are Five Banks alone in Mikhailovsky Ulitsa Alone,how much did these Residents sell out for??.
There are Thousands of Residents sat on Millions of $Dollars worth of Property yet Many only Earn $1000 per Month ??? ???

They Do Not Pay Monthly
£80  Council Tax
£25  Gas Bill
£25  Electricity Bill
£25  Water Bill
£11  TV License
£360 Mortgage
£20  Compulsary Insurance

I Do  >:( >:( >:(
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 18:40 27-Oct-2008
Wait until the western companies come along so you can "unlock" the value of your property by partial sale.  See how the Ukrainian court system treats them.  :D :D :D :D :D
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Green Borsch on 19:53 27-Oct-2008
People will deny it as its innacurate what is being suggested.

Out of Kievs estimated 4 million residents, what percentage actually own the property you refer to? Very very low I would add.

The majority of proffesionals I know in Kiev are struggling to buy their properties on credit and these are the middle classes so god knows how some of the others survive.

I dont know if you live in Kiev but if you do I would suggest you take a trip to among countless others the Berezniky area and its sprawls of 'gostinka' and the tens of 1000s of people living like rats as we speak and take that as a truer picture of the majority of Kiev residents than the rosy picture you paint!

I Cannot see how Anyone can Deny that,
Any Person who Lives within 2 Miles of Independance Square,Kiev has been Sitting on at least $100,000 worth of property since 2004,
Property that they were given by the State 1990`s ?? (Correct me if i am Wrong Azzice)

My Freind got offered $2,500 per Month to Vacate and Rent out his 2 Bed Apt in Mikhailovsky Pereoluk,so he Upped and Moved his Family to Cheaper property a few Miles over the other Bank of the River.

There are Five Banks alone in Mikhailovsky Ulitsa Alone,how much did these Residents sell out for??.
There are Thousands of Residents sat on Millions of $Dollars worth of Property yet Many only Earn $1000 per Month ??? ???

They Do Not Pay Monthly
£80  Council Tax
£25  Gas Bill
£25  Electricity Bill
£25  Water Bill
£11  TV License
£360 Mortgage
£20  Compulsary Insurance

I Do  >:( >:( >:(
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Green Borsch on 19:55 27-Oct-2008
People will deny it as its innacurate what is being suggested.

Out of Kievs estimated 4 million residents, what percentage actually own the property you refer to? Very very low I would add.

The majority of proffesionals I know in Kiev are struggling to buy their properties on credit and these are the middle classes so god knows how some of the others survive.

I dont know if you live in Kiev but if you do I would suggest you take a trip to among countless others the Berezniky area and its sprawls of 'gostinka' and the tens of 1000s of people living like rats as we speak and take that as a truer picture of the majority of Kiev residents than the rosy picture you paint!

I Cannot see how Anyone can Deny that,
Any Person who Lives within 2 Miles of Independance Square,Kiev has been Sitting on at least $100,000 worth of property since 2004,
Property that they were given by the State 1990`s ?? (Correct me if i am Wrong Azzice)

My Freind got offered $2,500 per Month to Vacate and Rent out his 2 Bed Apt in Mikhailovsky Pereoluk,so he Upped and Moved his Family to Cheaper property a few Miles over the other Bank of the River.

There are Five Banks alone in Mikhailovsky Ulitsa Alone,how much did these Residents sell out for??.
There are Thousands of Residents sat on Millions of $Dollars worth of Property yet Many only Earn $1000 per Month ??? ???

They Do Not Pay Monthly
£80  Council Tax
£25  Gas Bill
£25  Electricity Bill
£25  Water Bill
£11  TV License
£360 Mortgage
£20  Compulsary Insurance

I Do  >:( >:( >:(
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 20:09 27-Oct-2008
I really agree with Green Borsch. This topic is completely out of reality. The waste majority of people sold the "gift" flat in early 90's for some bread or vodka, and every people had in average 10 sqm....
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: SteveH on 20:20 27-Oct-2008
Quote
""I would suggest you take a trip to among countless others the Berezniky area and its sprawls of 'gostinka' and the tens of 1000s of people living like rats as we speak and take that as a truer picture of the majority of Kiev residents than the rosy picture you paint!""

I Have lived in Area`s such as Vynohradar :o and Vitriani Hory :o :o,i Know what You are talking about.
But over the past 3 Year`s i have never seen so Many Affluent Ukrainians in Their City Center.
Eating and Drinking, where Only Expats and Very Wealthy people could only afford once upon a time,
At Least 25,000 out of the 5 Million Residents have "Done Very Well".
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 20:23 27-Oct-2008
maybe but sure not because they had a gift from the State (which state in early 90s sorry?????).... but probably smart and workers
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 20:27 27-Oct-2008
some expat maybe are sad because they are no more the richest and many others now can afford  THEIR center city life.....
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Green Borsch on 20:30 27-Oct-2008
Completely agree with your points, the overall percentage is still very low though!

Your comments about the centre are totally correct in the sense that these people can go to places where even expats on expense accounts dare not tread, but as Azzice rightly states not all these people got their wealth through state hand out property!

Quote
""I would suggest you take a trip to among countless others the Berezniky area and its sprawls of 'gostinka' and the tens of 1000s of people living like rats as we speak and take that as a truer picture of the majority of Kiev residents than the rosy picture you paint!""

I Have lived in Area`s such as Vynohradar :o and Vitriani Hory :o :o,i Know what You are talking about.
But over the past 3 Year`s i have never seen so Many Affluent Ukrainians in Their City Center.
Eating and Drinking, where Only Expats and Very Wealthy people could only afford once upon a time,
At Least 25,000 out of the 5 Million Residents have "Done Very Well".

Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Vera on 20:38 27-Oct-2008
Well, I will just say that not everyone sold their State provided apartments in 1990s for vodka and such.
I will tell a very common story of how many local families live at least in Kiev.
Example: Parents had received from the state a 3 room flat in Soviet times , of course; they had 3 children -2 girls and a boy.
The children are now in their early 30s late 20s. So now that the children are all married with kids, here is the solution that they found- parents moved to the village and are now retired , each of the children with their family occupies one of the rooms, so in total there are 8 people living in that apartment.
The only good thing about the situation is that there are no conflicts in the family; they get along pretty well and share expenses for food and such.
Extreme example one would say, but it is just one of many- none of those young people has any hope of one day purchasing even a 1 bedroom apartment as it costs over $100,000. They cannot afford the down payment and mortgage.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: lakelander on 20:43 27-Oct-2008
I would agree with you on that Vera as I have heard the exact same story from a woman here. She has cousins in Kiev and that is how they live. there are 2 or maybe 3 families in the one big apartment and they have no hope of buying a property in Kiev as it is simply too expensive for them.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Carlusha on 20:53 27-Oct-2008
I too agree with you Vera. My wife has 5 relatives all sharing the same 2 bedroom apartment in the Sviytoshino district of Kyiv - exactly the same situation. One, the daughter, is a specialist children's cancer doctor but that doesn't provide sufficient income to enable her to buy a place of her own.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: ECOCKS on 21:17 27-Oct-2008
Those of us who live in the "real" Ukraine see the side described aptly by Vera's post. There are (unfortunately) certainly a significant number who followed Azzice's pathway description and are still trudging along the road, keeping their heads above water but with a bit less enthusiasm than most.  While there are families like both of these, there are some others too.

I know of one family which turned their 3 room apartment into a 5 room and have babushka, 2 children, husband and wife living there.  The husband works 2 jobs, the wife 1, the babushka still works and takes care of the children while the family saves religiously in anticipation of "better days" for the couple and their children.  They have managed to scrape together the money for a second-hand car and built a savings nestegg of middle to high five digits.  When they are at parties, they are quiet and unassuming but they appear to be making progress on "their" plan and have come to terms with life.

Every day I work with the emerging middle class of Ukrainians who are working on figuring out the rules and applying themselves to this new system.  They are working towards ownership of a few material icons, taking wider-ranging vacations, planning private pensions and starting families with an occasionally grim-eyed and gritted teeth stance but they are progressing nonetheless.

I also know of five or six expat couples following more or less the same plan.  The expat is in there every day working hard and bringing in good money by local standards and the wives are all either working or going to school to prepare for transition to new countries in the future.  All seem to have various small to medium-sized investment projects of a dacha, a small apartment, remonts of existing flats and "digging in" while still enjoying a couple of European vacations each year and taking in some theater performances from time-to-time.   

Evolution is hard to see when you're standing in the middle of it, but it is more apparent to those who make infrequent trips in occasionally.  I often hear the tourist expats say, "Things have changed!"  Yes, they are probably talking about prices, inflation and traffic most of the time, but I see generally positive, upward movement, progress if you will, on the part of the locals.

That's how I see it.

- Ed
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 08:20 28-Oct-2008
Those of us who live in the "real" Ukraine see the side described aptly by Vera's post. There are (unfortunately) certainly a significant number who followed Azzice's pathway description and are still trudging along the road, keeping their heads above water but with a bit less enthusiasm than most.  While there are families like both of these, there are some others too.


Whilst no doubt what Ed says is true, Kyiv is not the "real" Ukraine in many many respects, no more than London is the "real" UK, or Moscow is of Russia, or NY of the USA for the same reasons as Kyiv.  It is way over priced for almost everything and has more extremes of mega-rich and mega-poor in one place than most cities and they are generally more corrupt as the power bases for the country are situated there as far as governmental organisations go.

People are drawn to Kyiv because it is the capital and seemingly provides much more opportunity to them than most other cities in Ukraine.  Foreigners and multinationals for the same reason.  The price that is paid by all is rediculously high prices of rent and accommodation purchase and the prices for social activites associated with living in the capital.

It becomes its own world.

That said, I am not sure what is the "real" Ukraine.  Odessa is not respresentative of Kyiv or Nikoliev or Lviv.  Lviv is not representative of Donesk or Lugansk and Crimea is not representative of any other part of Ukraine I have been in.

In the small towns and villages it is possible to buy a house for $20,000 still.  I cannot think of one city you could buy a 50 sqm apartment for that.  Some in Kyiv may even pay that in rent a year (but I cannot imagine it would be many) and cetainly do on their cars.  The expendible income (over and above that to survive) in these towns and villages is also generally vastly lower than in Kyiv giving it some form of relativity.

By the same token one group of people or circumstances cannot be representative of a country so vast in geographical, demographical and uneven wealth distribution.

Without being able to check (as I am not sure Ukraine would know), I would imagine Ukraine has more millionaires (when counting those with 1 million included) than the UK with a smaller population but a massively larger land mass.  It will also have a much much larger percentage of the population living on or below the poverty line than the UK with a much less effective social backup system.

We could work from Government statistics, but Ukrainian Government statistics are less than reliable and the black economy which is rife would make those statistics even less reliable.

I do not know that there is a "real" Ukraine that would be recognised by all Ukrainians throughout the land when it comes to recognising any general standards other than that of corruption.

I for one would not recognise London as the "real" England and I am sure someone from Kentucky would dispute Washington or NY as the "real" USA.  They are all microcosoms within a nation which are not representative of the country as a whole and the situations within are therefore also not representative to all.

As BK has posted before, there are winner and losers and this will always be the case.

Ukraine, like Russia, has an enormous gap between the rich and the poor compared to most countries in the EU and those stuck in the middle do well to "tread water" if they head to places like Kyiv in search of the "best opportunities".  Those who head to Lviv with more limited opportunities may find it a little easier to make head way should they find that opportunity.  The chances of finding it there may be less than in Kyiv though.

If there is a "real" Ukraine representing the people and situations they face in Kyiv, Odessa, Lviv, Lagansk, Nikoliev et al. then I would like to go, but in reality a farmer from Nikoliev faces completely different circumstances and challenges to an expat banker in Kyiv, the owner of Dragon Capital or a Customs Official in Crimea and the town official from Lviv.  The opportunities they have to change those circumstances are vastly different too.  To each, they are living in the "real" Ukraine, to the other they may not be.



Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: ECOCKS on 09:03 28-Oct-2008
So, the "real" Ukraine is comprised of millions of individuals, many groups, ethnicities, cultures, etc. which are, in turn, spread across the largest country actually in Europe. 

And that is the point of Azzice, BK, myself and others.  Like any nation, Ukraine is moving at the speed its people are able to muster.  While there are a few examples of out-of-control states (Somalia, Congo and others come to mind) most countries need time to "find themselves" and "get their feet on the ground" before they push themselves up into a new time. It took the US a hundred and fifty years, a revolution, a civil war, some medium-sized wars and some growing pains to get where we are today.  England took even longer, as did Italy, France, the list goes on.

Azzice points out that many lost a great deal in the 90's.  Vera observed the same fact but diverges by giving the example of a family with a start-over mentality.  My example cites a family which has responded to challenge by forming a plan and disciplining themselves to adhere to it.  All of these are "real" as are those families who keep $15,000 hidden in a closet at their flat, the struggling farmer eating salo and borscht for dinner and the local mayor who practically has a menu of services and prices.  And yes, there are the millions out in the provincial areas who are still a bit bewildered at the (to them) over-whelming pace of change.  Many can and do figure out their next move and make a little progress towards the goal of self-determination.  I have met people from small villages who finished their degrees and immediately moved to Kyiv in search of opportunity.  Not many of them truly expect to become oligarchs but they send some money home each month, visit their families often and speak wistfully of their growing up.

As BritKyiv, paraphrasing Jesus and others, stated, there will always be winners and losers [among us].  There are certainly examples of both in all our stories and anecdotes.

Ukraine is moving forward and I, for one, have faith it will eventually manage to figure out the new rules and join the ranks of the global community. 

Hey, is that a band I hear out there?  Alexiy, put that flag down before you break something!

-Ed
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 09:40 28-Oct-2008
Where did I state Ukraine was not moving forward - infact when have I ever stated Ukraine was not moving forward?  ???

I simply stated that the "real Ukraine" can only be represented by the whole of Ukraine, not Odessa or Kyiv or Lviv or any other city and any sub group within it.  It is also my point.  I don't see how you don't get that?

I do not recall stating any difference between those who keep money under the bed to those who keep money in the bank.  Both have their reasons for doing it and I have not slighted either for doing so, nor would I.  ???

I need Ukraine to move forward for my own reasons as do many others and I have regularly posted in countless threads that it is a young democracy and has to be given time.  Where have I stated otherwise?  ???

I also agreed with azzice about the 90's - where did I not?  ???

I also agreed with V over families starting over and used Anechka as an example - where did I contradict that - she even moved to Moscow, a city she dislikes to regain her loses faster than she would have here?  ???

Where did I say everyone who goes to Kyiv wants to become an Oilgarch?   ???  I stated they go for "better opportunities" - where do I differ from what you are saying?  ???

I also believe that Ukraine will eventually sort itself out, or why would I remain here (and have gone to so much trouble by way of residency red tape to do so) permanently if I did not think so.   ???

Personally I already feel it has joined the ranks of the global community and had done so prior to WTO membership.  It does not need to be in the EU or NATO to join the global community anymore than it needs to be in any other organisation.  It is in the UN and WTO and therefore already has joined the global community.

All it needs to do is sort out it's internal politics and address the issues at home that so many Ukrainians are in need of.

I really do not see where I have disagreed with anything V or azzice or you have said other than Ukraine can only be viewed as the "real" Ukraine by including everybody (good, bad, rich, poor, corrupt, straight, black, white, green or blue) because it is so vastly diverse and there is no microcosm here which encapulates the circumstances and challenges of all.

Maybe I am stupid but I do not see any major disagreement in the posts.  :-\









Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: ECOCKS on 09:53 28-Oct-2008
The only disagreements have occurred between others. My comments, while mostly representing the middle class segment referred to by Vera, are simply citing support for ALL the stories ranging from the destitute who sold their apartments for "vodka and a car (sorry Azzice I think you may have said bread or something)" up to those who keep tens of thousands of USD put away in their closets.  None of my comments seem or were intended to detract from any of the positions and, in fact, are an attempt to pull them together to show there is no one model here.  Rather, there is a society moving in, generally, the same direction.




 
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 09:54 28-Oct-2008
I agree with Vera. My example was extreme but real.

But at the end i think that the system is not much different from West where people inherited property from parents etc...

The credit crunch the financial crisis are bad things for everybody. As always (In UK, USA. Germany, Russia and  Ukraine) weak people will pay more then others... That is the sad world we are living in.   :-\

For the rest I m happy to be member of this site, because even with some objectives languages difficulties  8), i ve had the opportunity to understand better foreigners who are living in this country. The vaste majority of you are very open and cultured and make many real efforts in order to understand and accept the country they are living in. This is never easy and deserve a big thank you to you all....  ;)
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: ECOCKS on 10:03 28-Oct-2008
And a big Thank You to you as well, Azzice.

One of the side issues on the site right now is the participation, or lack thereof, by Ukrainians.  I think you, like Vera, are out of the country right now but, as many of our spouses do, you provide some grounding in reality when we all blow away the political and, worse, ego issues represented here.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 10:04 28-Oct-2008
I agree with Vera. My example was extreme but real.

But at the end i think that the system is not much different from West where people inherited property from parents etc...

The credit crunch the financial crisis are bad things for everybody. As always (In UK, USA. Germany, Russia and  Ukraine) weak people will pay more then others... That is the sad world we are living in.   :-\

For the rest I m happy to be member of this site, because even with some objectives languages difficulties  8), i ve had the opportunity to understand better foreigners who are living in this country. The vaste majority of you are very open and cultured and make many real efforts in order to understand and accept the country they are living in. This is never easy and deserve a big thank you to you all....  ;)


With regards to inheritance in the West, you are correct.  The difference, it is much more common here to have 3 generations living in the property here whilst waiting for that inheritance to arrive.  (Apologies if that sounds morbid, it is not ment to be).  Now this is not to say it does not happen in "the West" but it is certainly less common than it used to be.

For reasons of its own, "western" people will do whatever they can to have their "own space" away from the premises of their immediate family, normally resulting in credit debts via mortgages etc. that was not a necessity to have, but was desirable to them (one of the reasons for the current crisis).  I am no expception to this general principle and left the watchful "eyes and ears" of my parents as soon as it was practicible to do so regardless of the debt I took on to achieve it twenty something years ago.  Looking back, it was not the cleverest thing to do for the reasons it was done, but financially now it is not an issue.  Then however it became obvious it was too much too soon.  With regards to the family relationship (as in being close knit) it has had consequences which although not bad in nature has cost me the valuable input of family.  The "western" attitude towards their inheritance may also be somewhat different (but then it may not be  :-\) as my parents will leave a house neither I or my brother will live in or have ever planned to live in when the situation arises.  It will simply be sold and not for the purpose of buying a better home for ourselves either.  It is therefore seen as a future asset rather than a future home.  I have no idea how this  is thought of in Ukraine - asset or home?

For the "westerner" coming here, regardless of business, authorities, rules and regulations difficulties, langauge et al., Ukraine is quite a culture shock from the perspective of so many family members in a small area (per sqm).

The net gain for the average Ukrainian is they have less personal debt compared to the average Brit for example (and on the assumption they get along with their family) have the immediate day to day support of their family.  I can only imagine that the average Ukrainian struggles to understand the mentality of the average Brit (for example) as the average Brit does of the Ukrainian, particularly if they only ever read about them or see them on TV. 

The transition for an individual from one mentality to another (regardless of direction) is by nature, much easier to accomplish than that of a nation and will take several generations to acheive no doubt.  I understand the political desire to move as quickly through that transitional period but it appears that they wish to move too fast and seemingly leave the populus and difficulties at home behind in this head long rush into completing this transition on to many occasions.

Anyway, enough rambling from me, I have plasterboard which awaits me and won't put itself up.  :(

(Azzice, as for your English, it is better than my Russian and completely overshadows the pathetic amount of Ukrainian I know.   ;))



Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 10:14 28-Oct-2008
Yes I m studying abroad since 1 october...
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 08:25 29-Oct-2008
Yes I m studying abroad since 1 october...

Well, let me add that this sentence needs the perfect continuous: I have been studying abroad since.... I am...since... is one of the most typical signs of foreigners' English.

Ecocks, your argument is not necessarily incompatible with anything written in the thread, but amounts to a pathetic PC attempt to say WE MUST NEVER GENERALIZE AND IN FACT SHOULD NEVER SAY ANYTHING.

It is not necessary that every judgment end on a PC positive note. And your comments comparing US history with the Ukraine are worthless. You seem to imply the US was a fully formed country for 150 years before independence, and so it is not unusual that a country cannot get its act together (see countries like Lithuania for proof of the opposite). In fact the US had few resident Europeans in the early part of the 17th century, and was building up its population. The Ukraine already has 46m. The US (which you don't realise did not exist before 1776) was a colony of Britain and there were French wars etc that Britain and the American colonies fought together. In fact there is no parallel between 18th century America and the Ukraine today - the attempt to create one is just PC handwringing.

I am not saying you should not attack generalizations you see as false, or generalizations that need to have more detail and colour so that the full reality be appreciated. What I am saying is it is mentally deficient to always claim that the drawing of any conclusions, in any situation, ever, is wrong. You are in a non-PC country and have the opportunity to START THINKING!

BOOK RECOMMENDATION FOR ECOCKS: ALLAN BLOOM'S CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: ECOCKS on 09:01 29-Oct-2008
PC?  Nah, where I come from it is more commonly referred to as good manners and common decency.  We usually visit someone's home and try really hard not to pee in the corners, crap on the sofa or break any of their dishes.  When someone like that comes along, we tolerate them a time or two to see if it is just ignorance or ingrained behavior and personality.  After the trend is established, we just ignore them unless we need a source of amusement.

I was fortunate enough to be brought up in a fairly good home by damn good people, otherwise I might have ended up some psuedo-intellectual socialist drifter desperately searching the world for someone to be superior to in order to prove to myself how worthy I was while always hoping that others would demand to place me on a pedestal as an object of worship.

Fortunately, my family provided a pretty secure environment for me so that didn't happen.

Suggested Reading for Free Spirit:  Anal Self-Extraction Guide for the Socially Awkward Individual
Title: Re: Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Carlusha on 09:26 29-Oct-2008
The last two posts, one by "free spirit" and one by "ECOCKS" miss completely the topic subject ....... namely, "Ukraine wobbles".

Would you both mind continuing your debate using either the forum's PM facility, email or meet over a coffee.

Thank you.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Phasar on 09:29 29-Oct-2008
Yes, perhaps the "Book Club" board  :D
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: ECOCKS on 09:54 29-Oct-2008
Well, it'll never happen again.

Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Insomniac on 17:00 29-Oct-2008
This is just what stopped me joining earlier.... there are good people on this forum but the atmosphere here is dreadful. Sorry to be so pushy after only a few days but what kind of expat is rude enough to criticise a perfectly understandable but grammatically wrong sentence written by a Ukrainian. Can any of us honestly say that we speak another language fluently? Free Spirit, what is "I have been studying abroad since 1st October" in Ukrainian, because I sure as hell don't know.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: vumpel03 on 17:25 29-Oct-2008
We usually visit someone's home and try really hard not to pee in the corners, crap on the sofa or break any of their dishes.

...standing ovation  ;D
Title: And do not argue with a fool
Post by: azzice on 22:18 29-Oct-2008
Exegi Monumentum

 

I have erected a monument to myself

Not built by hands; the track of it, though trodden

By the people, shall not become overgrown,

And it stands higher than Alexander's column.

 

I shall not wholly die. In my sacred lyre

My soul shall outlive my dust and escape corruption--

And I shall be famed so long as underneath

The moon a single poet remains alive.

 

I shall be noised abroad through all great Russia,

Her innumerable tongues shall speak my name:

The tongue of the Slavs' proud grandson, the Finn, and now

The wild Tungus and Kalmyk, the steppes' friend.

 

In centuries to come I shall be loved by the people

For having awakened noble thoughts with my lyre,

For having glorified freedom in my harsh age

And called for mercy towards the fallen.

 

Be attentive, Muse, to the commandments of God;

Fearing no insult, asking for no crown,

Receive with indifference both flattery and slander,

And do not argue with a fool.

         
A. Pushkin
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 06:03 30-Oct-2008
This is just what stopped me joining earlier.... there are good people on this forum but the atmosphere here is dreadful. Sorry to be so pushy after only a few days but what kind of expat is rude enough to criticise a perfectly understandable but grammatically wrong sentence written by a Ukrainian. Can any of us honestly say that we speak another language fluently? Free Spirit, what is "I have been studying abroad since 1st October" in Ukrainian, because I sure as hell don't know.

Do you not think I helped him by telling him that? I am still living in China, where one of my problems is that people are reluctant to correct my Chinese if they can understand it. Any serious language learner wants to be corrected, and to be quite honest, it is really we native speakers who are at fault when foreigners speak their typical foreigners' English - because we have not corrected them. Think of all those French people who say "since for a long time" - it's like something out of the TV series Allo, Allo, but surely each of those people would have quickly absorbed the fact that this is wrong if he had been told. The real cruelty is not to correct foreigners. I accuse you of that cruelty.

I don't know what the sentence is in Ukrainian, but as I am not studying Ukrainian, logically, you might realise, this is not a problem for me.

Some of the Ukrainians on this forum have genuinely good English. Vera has good English, although there are occasional slips, but they seem to be no more than the same kind of slips that native speakers make in Internet English. Azzice writes understandable English, and we English set the bar very low when it comes to learning foreign languages. If we could make ourselves understood in Ukrainian, we would claim to be fluent. Truly. That is what English people do!

I don't know if Azzice likes corrections or not - but if he is a serious student he will learn more from the occasional correction than from countless people telling him "your English is already so much better than that of the average native speaker". Softsoaping does not equal kindness. Actually, it is cruelty of the worse sort.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Green Borsch on 07:20 30-Oct-2008
This is why I have always been so reluctant to get involved with this board as it seems to be full of the people you describe, also it seems to be a platform for people to massage their overblown sense of importance which goes against the spirit of such boards.

I realised that this board is not for me either, the best posters such as Jon Champion and RJM have departed and the void has not been filled however ECOCKS has been a breath of fresh air on his return.

This free spirit seems to want to offer nothing positive and I put him squarely in the same camp as Moving as someone we can well do without but Im sure the "freedom of speach" mob have other opinions, in the meantime I will have to continue cringing over my breakfast cereal.

This is just what stopped me joining earlier.... there are good people on this forum but the atmosphere here is dreadful. Sorry to be so pushy after only a few days but what kind of expat is rude enough to criticise a perfectly understandable but grammatically wrong sentence written by a Ukrainian. Can any of us honestly say that we speak another language fluently? Free Spirit, what is "I have been studying abroad since 1st October" in Ukrainian, because I sure as hell don't know.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: azzice on 08:09 30-Oct-2008

I don't know if Azzice likes corrections or not - but if he is a serious student he will learn more from the occasional correction than from countless people telling him "your English is already so much better than that of the average native speaker". Softsoaping does not equal kindness. Actually, it is cruelty of the worse sort.

I like corrections. No problem. The fact that i cant express my thoughts or feelings in english is very frustrating to me. I understand that because of my bad english many can think that i m stupid, ignorant or sometimes rude.....

I also understand that i m an easy target for people like you, who cant miss an opportunity to show their superiority.

The fact that my english is bad is evident. Evident as the fact that you have a big personality disorder.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: hotbmw on 09:06 30-Oct-2008
guys i understand what free spirit is saying but i guess a forum isnt the place for corrections.

azzice ur english is good enough.

lets move on to more interesting topics guys!!!
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Insomniac on 14:50 30-Oct-2008
As far as I'm concerned every Ukrainian person on this forum speaks good English, and in my experience of learning Russian, I get nervous when people are too critical and tend to speak less if I think it isn't ok to make mistakes. I came to Ukraine first time round knowing no Russian or Ukrainian (I'm not a linguist, my company sent me here), so even though I speak them both badly I don't beat myself up about it, I'm just proud when I can make myself undertood.

I'm sure that there are lots of websites better suited for people wanting to improve their English, just as there are lots of websites better suited for people like free spirit who get their kicks out of hurting people.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Carlusha on 14:59 30-Oct-2008
As far as I'm concerned every Ukrainian person on this forum speaks good English, and in my experience of learning Russian, I get nervous when people are too critical and tend to speak less if I think it isn't ok to make mistakes. I came to Ukraine first time round knowing no Russian or Ukrainian (I'm not a linguist, my company sent me here), so even though I speak them both badly I don't beat myself up about it, I'm just proud when I can make myself undertood.

I'm sure that there are lots of websites better suited for people wanting to improve their English, just as there are lots of websites better suited for people like free spirit who get their kicks out of hurting people.

David, don't worry your cotton socks. During or shortly after introductions, simply mention the fact that your Russian and/or Ukrainian is not up to scratch and add a simple witty but relative comment which should go down well and everyone will make allowances for you.

Yes, be proud that you can, in the main, make yourself understood. I am ashamed to say I am still at the semaphore stage after pver 10 years!

Have an applaud too to counter that smite!
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Insomniac on 15:05 30-Oct-2008
Seeing as I'm only here initially to sponge information I won't be paying attention to my karma as I'm sure there's stuff you guys would rather chat about and I'm probably boring you, I'd just lke to think that my level of Russian won't be a factor in how polite people are to me.

Back to the topic - in honesty, is it a bad time to relocate to Ukraine? Maybe Russia would be better?
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Carlusha on 15:08 30-Oct-2008
Being sponged for information is why we are here! Ask away but start a new topic under the appropriate section if the question has not been asked before.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 15:20 30-Oct-2008

I don't know if Azzice likes corrections or not - but if he is a serious student he will learn more from the occasional correction than from countless people telling him "your English is already so much better than that of the average native speaker". Softsoaping does not equal kindness. Actually, it is cruelty of the worse sort.

I like corrections. No problem. The fact that i cant express my thoughts or feelings in english is very frustrating to me. I understand that because of my bad english many can think that i m stupid, ignorant or sometimes rude.....

I also understand that i m an easy target for people like you, who cant miss an opportunity to show their superiority.

The fact that my english is bad is evident. Evident as the fact that you have a big personality disorder.


I think you have been seduced by various group members into thinking that a one-line correction is a vicious attack, and an opportunity to show superiority. If you don't want corrections, that's fine.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Phasar on 15:23 30-Oct-2008

I don't know if Azzice likes corrections or not - but if he is a serious student he will learn more from the occasional correction than from countless people telling him "your English is already so much better than that of the average native speaker". Softsoaping does not equal kindness. Actually, it is cruelty of the worse sort.

I like corrections. No problem. The fact that i cant express my thoughts or feelings in english is very frustrating to me. I understand that because of my bad english many can think that i m stupid, ignorant or sometimes rude.....

I also understand that i m an easy target for people like you, who cant miss an opportunity to show their superiority.

The fact that my english is bad is evident. Evident as the fact that you have a big personality disorder.


I think you have been seduced by various group members into thinking that a one-line correction is a vicious attack, and an opportunity to show superiority. If you don't want corrections, that's fine.

It wasn't a "Teach me English" thread and he didn't ask for your advice.

So it was neither the proper time, not the place. If you want to correct anyones english, do it by PM and NOT in open forum, usless you sole intention was to embarrase him
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 15:28 30-Oct-2008
Why would it be my intention to embarrass him? That is illogical.

As forum members have pointed out, his English is better than my Ukrainian, so, where is the embarrassment?

If you had managed to read between the lines, you would have realised my intention was to comment on the false and hypocritical praise being larded around by some forum members.

I don't like hypocrisy - and I don't think such members really do mean well. You have to understand the English mentality to see through them!
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Insomniac on 15:34 30-Oct-2008
Can anyone recommend another forum where I could find out some information about Ukraine? Or perhaps a trusted member who I could send a personal message to? It's obvious you guys have an ongoing conflict, and I don't want to be part of it.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 15:39 30-Oct-2008
What information are you seeking?

If it is property in the Ukraine, PN and Azzice are the acknowledged experts and woudl surely help you in a PM or in a forum.

If you want some information, why not open a thread specifying what you are looking for and keep that thread on topic?

This thread is about the economic crisis in Ukraine. Are you interested in information on that? I think it would be a shame to have no place to discuss this, but I note that PN is really the only person who is capable of replying to my posts on the issue. Nevertheles, there may be more on this topic in the weeks and months to come.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Insomniac on 15:53 30-Oct-2008
I guess my questions are about the everyday stuff, I'd like to get out and about more than I did last time.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 15:54 30-Oct-2008
Calling the bottom of a market has been compared to catching a falling knife. This applies to the stock market, but also to currency markets and financial crises of various kinds.

The Hryvnia has apparently risen today, but yesterday breached 7 to the dollar - if not in the Central Bank official rates, then at least in commercial markets.

Someone on here said he was preparing to buy property at 6.5 to the dollar. If the property seems good value, and given that one needs somewhere to live, it could make sense to buy. But you need to take a view on what is going to happen to the economy and the currency.

The IMF package will impose some conditions, and as a result next year won't be easy for the Ukraine. Some analysts seem to think property could fall in price by one-third.

I think that it is sensible to wait a little while and see what happens in Russia, which could have an effect on the Ukraine, either in the sense of "contagion", as traders blackball countries anywhere near Russia, or in the sense that Russian money may constitute some percentage of property transactions in the Ukraine.

Russia has large foreign reserves, but also large commercial debts, and it is a risky thing to be getting into to be helping large domestic companies directly from the foreign reserves. Now we read that credit cards are being rejected in Moscow. It is worth waiting and seeing what impact this has on the Ukraine.

However, all the markets are up today, and the current volatility makes it hard to read this. Have we in fact reached a bottom in the US market, and so gradually the world will work through its problems over the next two years? Maybe the IMF has been sufficiently proactive to stave off the worst? But it would be a surprise if 7 to the dollar is in fact the "bottom" for the hryvnia.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: Phasar on 16:01 30-Oct-2008
Why would it be my intention to embarrass him? That is illogical.

As forum members have pointed out, his English is better than my Ukrainian, so, where is the embarrassment?

If you had managed to read between the lines, you would have realised my intention was to comment on the false and hypocritical praise being larded around by some forum members.

I don't like hypocrisy - and I don't think such members really do mean well. You have to understand the English mentality to see through them!

I'm not English  ;)

Sorry, couldn't resist

Nothing to see here

Carry on  ;D
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: vumpel03 on 18:01 30-Oct-2008
Have we in fact reached a bottom in the US market, and so gradually the world will work through its problems over the next two years? Maybe the IMF has been sufficiently proactive to stave off the worst? But it would be a surprise if 7 to the dollar is in fact the "bottom" for the hryvnia.

Probably no to your question about reaching bottom in the US market.  Most experts agree that it's probably a temp. correction and we'll continue to see significant volatility.  However, as I already said, if someone has "long" money for the next 3-5 years, now is the time to invest since there are some terrific buying opportunities on US stock market.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: free spirit on 18:08 30-Oct-2008
The problem is that it will be years before the rebound occurs - maybe better to wait and see when the "rock bottom" is reached. But I feel the IMF bailout does not cover all of the Ukraine's upcoming liabilities, so the hryvnia could easy test new lows.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: vumpel03 on 18:22 30-Oct-2008
The problem is that it will be years before the rebound occurs - maybe better to wait and see when the "rock bottom" is reached. But I feel the IMF bailout does not cover all of the Ukraine's upcoming liabilities, so the hryvnia could easy test new lows.

Stock markets are forward looking (i.e. US stock market has already priced the news that 2009 will be a "bad" year for US economy).  However, since NOBODY is able to predict with a reasonable degree of certainty what should be expected in the next 1-6 months, your approach is safe.
Title: Re: The Ukraine wobbles
Post by: P-N on 09:01 31-Oct-2008

Back to the topic - in honesty, is it a bad time to relocate to Ukraine? Maybe Russia would be better?

That is a hard question to answer - I have not lived in Russia for several years now and any information I could give you would obviously be "dated" or no different from what you could read anywhere with regards to being "up to the minute".

When I was in Russia, there were certain members on this forum who were also there, mattlock, silverbullet, and packman (who I remember) and maybe more on the Russian forums. 

I have not returned to Russia since I moved here as I have had no need to.  (I also stopped participating in the Russian forums as there was little I could say of any relivance (not that there is much on here I say of relivance either  ::)) - the others may still spend enough time there to answer your question with far more accuracy then I can.

It also depends (to a degree) on what you can and cannot do and what (more importantly) you want to do when you get there.  Given the global crisis, it maybe that a little flexibility on your part would be required (at least initially), conversely it may open up opportunities for you which it would not for others.

There are 2 Russian forums like this one which are predominantly used by the expats in Russia and I would guess that they would be able to answer the situation in Russia with regards to your aspirations, far better than some of us on here (myself included). 

I am sure that whichever you chose, Ukraine or Russia, you will enjoy the "ride" for the most part.