Edward Mermelstein, a New York-based attorney who works with Russian clients and advises on cross-border investments in the Russian Federation, is currently in Moscow and told CNBC that although currency controls are technically not the law, they are essentially in effect. He told CNBC that his clients cannot get their money out of Russia as of this month. “Clients who manufacture outside of Russia get paid in rubles and need to convert those funds to dollars in order to purchase and manufacture so that they can import more product into Russia,” Mermelstein said. “Today’s issue is they cannot get dollars out of the country, and so cannot purchase new products.” Banks are not processing the transfers, he said.
“We’re in a strong position compared with the rest of the world,” said Ed Mermelstein, a founding partner of real estate law firm Rheem Bell & Mermelstein.
“When the prices of commodities and currency are heading downward, holding real estate in the U.S. is better than holding the gold standard of yesteryear.”
Buyers have also poured more funds into New York real estate over the past two months, says, Edward Mermelstein, a partner at law firm RheemBell & Mermelstein who advises Russian investors. “Many of our clients who are active in commercial real estate increased their appetites,” he says. “Now the indication is that their bet was correct.”
Co-ops are also perceived by some as being more exclusive than condos. Whereas condos turn over regularly, co-ops often stay in the hands of the same families and don’t come to market that often, said real estate attorney Edward Mermelstein. “Most of the buyers along Fifth and Park avenues tend to be there for life,” Mermelstein said. There remains a gap, however. Co-op prices are yet to crack the $90 million mark set by new development condos such as Extell Development’s One57. But Mermelstein said that co-ops would continue to catch up. “It’s just inevitable,” he said. – See more at: http://therealdeal.com/blog/2014/10/22/tracking-nycs-co-op-sales-records/#sthash.EcxY1rIf.dpuf
…with tensions over Ukraine on the rise, Russian investors are changing their strategies within the American market. That’s according to U.S.-based real estate agents and lawyers who cater to clients from the former Soviet Union.
“The high times are over,” said Edward Mermelstein, a New York lawyer who represents foreign investors in the U.S., including many Russians.
“It’s now mainly a flight to safety in American markets,”said Mermelstein.
They are not just focusing on New York, but New York is the strongest center,” said Edward Mermelstein, a Ukrainian-born lawyer who helps wealthy Eastern Europeans invest in New York real estate. “In the media, the city is always portrayed as the safest bet. It also has prestige.”
Mermelstein said he has been speaking with clients on an hourly basis in recent weeks, which is more often than usual. Most of the callers were not from Russia or Ukraine, but from countries like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan.
Edward Mermelstein said that he often negotiates deals for investors who want the right to quickly resell apartments, but that this isn’t true for the most expensive trophy apartments.
“At the top end they are not looking for anything other than to be able to say: ‘I have an apartment in the sexiest new buildings in New York.’ “
The Council of Jewish Emigre Community Organizations (COJECO), the central coordinating body in the Russian-speaking Jewish community of NY that was formed in 2001 to facilitate successful integration process of Russian-speaking Jews into the mainstream Jewish community and the greater American society has elected Edward Mermelstein President of the organization.
Mermelstein, 45, is a Russian-American real estate attorney, consultant and developer based in New York City. He is a co-founder of the law firm, Rheem Bell & Mermelstein, LLP, for whom he is a partner. Mermelstein has been named as one of the 10 most powerful players in New York real estate by the Commercial Observer, and is regularly featured in the media for his top-tier deals on behalf of international investors. Mermelstein is an active philanthropist, serving on the boards of UJA-Federation of NY, Russian-American Jewish Experience (RAJE), Manhattan Youth Ballet, and more. Wexner Fellowship has formed a first ever Russian-speaking Cohort that Mermelstein has participated in for the past year.