The Tula Region is Moscowâs next-door neighbour to the south, the border-line being formed largely by the impressive Oka river. The route to the region can be taken either by the M2 highway, the so-called Simferopol or Crimea or the M4 âDonâ. Both of these roads are fast and reasonably well-surfaced.
The region has been somewhat left behind when compared to its other more dynamic neighbour, the Kaluga region, which has attracted significantly more foreign investment over the past 10 years noticeably with the development of the automobile industry. However, since the previous ineffectual and notoriously corrupt governor was replaced by the younger and forward-looking Vladimir Gruzdyev, things are beginning to improve in terms of infrastructure and development in both industry and agriculture. Gruzdyev was a wealthy man in his own right prior to his inauguration, having been one of the founder members of the 7th Continent supermarket chain in 1993. In his new job he immediately got down to cleaning up the mess in the local regional government and taking radical measures to drag the backward region into the 21st century.
Consequently, Tula has become a viable alternative to Kaluga for investors looking to find a home for their new projects. The capital city is considerably larger than its westerly counterpart and so the local market is larger. In terms of logistics the recently improved road system is an added advantage too.
One of the attractive aspects of the region and where development is taking place at a pace is in tourism and recreation. Being reasonably accessible to the capital city of Moscow, at least in the northern parts of the territory, Muscovites in search of their weekend retreat and a chance of refreshing peace and quiet can find what they need on the banks of the Oka river or in the historical centre of the old town, Aleksino. These areas can be reached in under two hours from the edge of Moscow, even taking into account the Friday evening rush hour traffic. This compares favourably with the nightmare treks to the popular resorts of the northern Moscow districts along Dmitrovskoye or Leningradskoye which will not get you half as far in the same time.
The popularity of the Tula region for dacha and residential property development is consequently on the rise, particularly for those looking for a more picturesque spot, cleaner air and with an eye on their bank balance. Land designated for house construction is not surprisingly more plentiful and more affordable than the overcrowded and overpriced equivalent in the Moscow region. There is also more to chose from. Depending on the location a plot of land suitable for a dacha starts from around 15,000 roubles per 100 m2 (known in Russian as a sotka, from the word for hundred âstoâ) and from 30-35,000 roubles per sotka for a plot on a residential area development. Obviously, the closer you get to a river or lakeside property or, if you opt for a more up-market club or village style development with all mod-cons, the price will be higher.
One popular way in which property and land developers work is by forming a so-called DNP or dacha non-commercial partnership or cooperative. Your contribution to the DNP is compensated by signing a purchase agreement transferring the ownership title of the plot of land to the same value in return. Owning land title is of course only part of the story. The title holder still needs to build his house, have road access to it and connect the property to whatever utilities are available to the site. These may be provided by the DNP, or by a separate or affiliated company, under a second agreement by making a one-off payment for the service to which you require to be connected. A starting price of around 300,000 roubles will be charged, unless the service is already there and included in the land price.
Donât forget, however, that you will still have to pay for the connection to your future dwelling from the boundary of your property and for an electricity meter to be installed officially. If natural gas is available in your district, which is not always the case, bringing the main pipe will cost more, depending on how many subscribers take up the offer, and the connection to your house system will be more expensive than the connection to the electricity supply grid. Water and sewage is only provided centrally in residential communities. For dachas you will have to resort to drilling your own well on the property and installing your own septic tank arrangements, unless you can do without and put up with the basic outside toilet arrangement!
Most developers will offer you a choice for your building options. You can acquire land without any construction obligations in which case you are free to pick your own design and find a contractor to build it for you. Alternatively, you can opt for a project proposed by the developer from his catalogue using his sub-contractors. The latter brings some advantages these days as the builders will be likely erecting a series of a similar type and can thus economize on the material purchases. The construction teams are also better trimmed and can get the job done quicker and closer to your budget as there are less unforeseen problems. However, the choice is yours.
In the more up-market village developments the developer may insist that you build only one of his designs as they wish to maintain a unified style and standard image for the whole development. If you are looking for more than a summer retreat and intend to invest in a second home for all year round use, you have the added advantage of 24-hour security and the benefit of other communal sports and recreational facilities. This of course comes at a price.