Roman Buk: Regarding the price, the situation was divided into pre-war and during the war. In the 20th of February, our foreign exchange rate fluctuated a little. When the dollar began to rise, we understood that in the near future the prices of construction materials would rise. And in the 20th of February, we already sat down and reviewed the price in hryvnias, in order to form it as objectively as possible to the economic situation that existed at that time.
After February 24, everything changed dramatically, but the prices in dollars remained. They were at a certain level and remained, even in some places, the exchange rate jumps a lot, but we have a price in hryvnias, which in some places is 50 cents cheaper than it was then.
And how are the prices written in the deals now – in dollars or in hryvnias?
Roman Buk: We at Eco House work exclusively through the Construction Financing Fund. In the agreement on participation in the Fund, we do not have such an opportunity to tie the hryvnia price to the dollar equivalent or vice versa. Therefore, when signing the contract on participation in the Fund, the price is fixed in hryvnias, and the developer cannot change it automatically, without warning his investor, under any circumstances.
Therefore, the investor always has the opportunity to pay for his square meters at the price that was fixed at the time of signing, even if the price of building materials rises, which forces him to revise the price, within 5-10 days.
Roman Yuskiv: I also spoke with several immigrants, whose sentiments also indicate a delayed demand. They expect that for their destroyed housing there will be compensation from the state or some preferential lending. Therefore, if they purchase housing now, they will not use the chance of preferential lending or any preferential compensation in the future. This is also one of the factors that may be delaying the demand a bit.
That is, do they expect to buy a home with the received compensation funds?
So. At least, they hope.
And what are the current prices on the rental and commercial rental market?
Roman Yuskiv: Most rental prices have returned to pre-war prices, but somewhere in the currency equivalent. In hryvnias, of course, they have grown. Everyone who needed to find housing has already found it, and the more expensive premium apartments are still empty.
Another point that has become very important for everyone is the issue of housing security where they live. According to the chief architect of Lviv, Anton Kolomeitsev, the city has developed recommendations for the construction of new housing. Is there a change in demand depending on where the real estate is located, the number of floors of the real estate, and so on – what factors do people see as important for themselves, apart from the price, when buying or renting an apartment?
Roman Yuskiv: For example, clients from Kharkiv, who want an apartment or a cottage, immediately told me that they do not want near the airfield, tank factory and military units.
Are their requests different now? They mostly ask for the center, the suburbs, or do they take into account the track, the availability of parking, proximity to the shelter?
Roman Buk: I have not come across any special requests or requirements regarding safe shelter or other things. Of course, when a person considers buying an apartment and sees that there is a military unit nearby, it depends on everyone. Someone is afraid, perhaps not in vain, and says that such an option does not suit him. Other people may have paid attention, but I did not hear any discussion that this or that object was not suitable because it was located near something dangerous.
They ask if there are basements, but they asked about basements even before the war, because perhaps they intended to store some of their belongings there. Today, the basement has acquired a new purpose, it is a shelter.
In our new projects, we try to provide a basement that can serve as a shelter. A place where you can comfortably hide, wait, be safe. Because when these are some small cells and people are standing in the corridors, it is not convenient. When it is a large room that has ventilation and a place for making coffee and tea, where there is comfortable lighting, where you can sit on a normal chair or sofa – we have already begun to envision such spaces.
Among the recommendations developed by the Lviv City Council is attention to underground shelters that can be converted into parking lots to ensure the availability of water there and the possibility of a longer stay. And the second is the creation of separate security rooms in the apartment. Among the requirements are reinforced external walls, a single riser, reinforced window barriers. We asked several developers how ready and able they are to implement it – the reaction was very different. Can you try to predict whether it is possible to build such rooms, how much it can increase the price of housing and whether people are willing to invest more money for it?
Read also: Are they really ready to build apartments with security rooms in Lviv?
Roman Yuskiv: In my opinion, first of all, it will be necessary to talk about this with developers, but my opinion is that it should be the same as with cars. Deo cars are cheap and Mercedes. If the developer builds simple, budget housing, then it can be some special rooms or a parking lot, which will have additional fortifications, but it must be multifunctional. In premium-class houses, elite houses, you can build an expensive bomb shelter, etc., with the money of buyers. It’s like with cars – both budget and premium class “will drive”.
Roman Buk: With regard to new buildings and places of shelter, there is no unequivocal answer to this, but I know for sure that a buyer who today buys an apartment that costs several thousand per square meter, and if he understands that an apartment with a shelter for will cost him more, then he will be unhappy that it falls on the shoulders of the buyer.
If we talk about the shelters that should be on the floor or in each apartment, then we have to understand that in the future the shelter should remain a shelter, but not a storage for bicycles. We learned how to make cells wherever they can be made.
One more point about the shelter on the floor or in the apartment, at the moment, redevelopment in the apartment can be done to your taste after putting the house into operation – by taking away or delivering partitions. Someone combines the kitchen with the living room, someone makes some other design decisions in their apartment, there are new trends and so on. If you build such a room within the apartment, you must understand that you will not be able to dismantle such a wall. And that kitchen or room will remain exactly as it is, and preferably not filled with anything else.
If you envision such rooms in new apartments, how long will it take to implement them?
Roman Buk: It can be implemented in each subsequent project. If we are talking about the fact that we studied the issue, made a decision, and developed a project, then such a house with 3-5 entrances will be built in one and a half to two years. This is if we are talking about the fact that it should be built at the expense of investors-buyers during the construction process. If the developer already has the funds to build such a house, then perhaps this process will take less time.
Do you feel the difference in people buying a home? Earlier, it was possible to say that among them there was a large segment that works in IT and lives in Lviv. There was a large segment of people who were working abroad and had the opportunity to invest in real estate in Lviv for their families. How has it changed now? Who are among those solvent people who have the opportunity to buy a home?