According to a major survey by leading Russian property magazine International Residence at the Moscow International Investment Show, Bulgaria, Spain and Turkey are now the top three choices among the huge $12 billion Russian overseas property market.

Some 181 companies from 29 countries were represented at the show, which attracted over 6,800 visitors -- a new record for the 2-day event, the 8th of its kind. For the International Residence survey 499 visitors were selected at random to answer questions to ascertain their property desires in the year ahead.

The survey found a change in the amount Russian buyers are looking to spend, with some 40% now looking to pick up properties for between 100,000 and 250,000 Euros, compared to 10.5% expecting to spend more than 500,000 Euros.

The increase in people looking to buy at the lower end of the price range makes perfect sense given the most popular countries; with property prices having fallen massively in Bulgaria and Spain, and prices comparatively lower anyway in Turkey.

According to the survey 66% or Russian buyers plan to buy an apartment, and 49% are planning to buy in the next 12 months. 27% of those surveyed are buying for investment reasons, while 53% said they planned to buy for lifestyle reasons.

AI Group CEO and organiser Kim Waddoup said: "After what has been a fairly tough time for the global real estate industry, the attendance figures at our show and the results of the magazine's survey, certainly indicate that although Russian investors remain cautious, they are most certainly continuing to invest abroad. This has to be most encouraging for the participants in our 2011 events and the future."

The survey went on to name Montenegro, Germany, Hungary, Finland and the Czech Republic as also being popular with Russian buyers.

Actually, the results are not that dissimilar to those before the so-called credit crunch. I remember reading one report in 2007 putting Bulgaria and Montengro at the top of Russian buyers lists, with Spain also being very popular. Other reports also mentioned Bulgaria along with the Eastern European and Baltic blocs.

One notable difference would be the lack of a mention for Ukraine and/or Poland, which were certainly 2 of the most popular countries with Russian buyers at that time, and of course the inclusion of Turkey which is really popping up on everyone's radar now as the economy enjoys impressive stability and growth.