(NEWSER) – It may not be the first thing to come to mind in regard to Russia’s dispute with Ukraine, but the fallout could take a tangible hit on New York City real estate. The New York Times explains that rich foreigners—think Russia, China, and Brazil—account for about 40% of condo and townhouse purchases in the city. It’s reasonable to assume, then, that economic sanctions and visa restrictions will mean fewer purchases like this one by Russian billionaires, writes Megan McArdle at Bloomberg. This is not necessarily a bad thing for the city, she adds.
Not that she’s against old-fashioned capitalism at work. “But outside of construction jobs, the ultrarich don’t add much to the city—their apartments sit vacant for most of the year, which means they don’t generate demand for much except one-time construction jobs.” Take London, for instance, where some areas “now often resemble those eerie empty cities in the China hinterlands.” Foreign ownership is fine, but “I might also not be sorry to see some of it go.