The Russians Are Coming! (For Our High-End Real Estate)

Buyers are already starting to despair when it comes to finding ultra high-end New York properties, especially after casino king Steve Wynn reportedly snagged the $77.5 million duplex penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton.

And in the future, the market may get even tighter for buying-crazed billionaires, with a new crop of Russians and Ukrainians eager to snap up trophy properties, a new CNBC video warns.

The number of billionaires in Russia and the Ukraine has more than tripled in recent years, according to the the video (which the Real Deal first spotted), and these novyi riche hate putting their money in banks. Just look at Dmitri Robolovlev, who sank $88 million into a pad at 15 CPW.

“We starting not just to see an increase in transactions, but an increase in the size of the transactions,” real estate attorney Edward Mermelstein told CNBC.

Russian Billionaire Alexander Rovt, who recently purchased an office building at 14 Wall Street for $303 million in cash explains his philosophy.

“I’m always winning on the stock market. I’m always winning. Know why? Because I never played,” Mr. Rovt told CNBC smugly. Don’t keep it in the bank, he advised, invest in real estate.

Great advice if you’re a billionaire buying in Manhattan. Less good for the average American, at least if the housing market crash was any indication.

kvelsey@observer.com