Land Policy of Market and Transition Economies: A Comparative Perspective
From the outset of privatization in Russia researchers from a number of countries have been studying the emerging real estate market and the residential sector development in Russian cities. Typically, their attention has been focused on legal and institutional challenges like the inconsistency and inadequacy of legislation, blurred or duplicated functions of different power bodies, the immaturity of real estate market infrastructure and low professionalism of the market's agents (appraisers, developers, intermediaries, notaries, etc.). They also pointed out that privatization required tighter control over area development, and introduction of new townplanning instruments and regulations. While accepting many points raised by the above publications, we must nevertheless emphasise that the development of real estate market in Russia has shown impressively high rates. Despite all the difficulties the private sector now prevails in construction; and professional associations of realtors, appraisers, and notaries, as well as associations of mortgage banks and insurors are in good progress. The state sector's level of adjustment to market is less impressive, but one should not forget that the main reason behind all reform's controvercies and inconsistencies is politics. The existing political pattern of Russian legislative bodies blocks radical market transformations, and the confrontation between the President and the State Duma leads to controvercial decisions.