Searching for the perfect apartment in New York City may be getting even more difficult, according to data form TripleMint, a residential real estate start-up based in New York. And the driver behind the tighter market may be competition for scarce supply from other parts of the world—and one surprising country in particular, according to CNBC.  The market attracts more than its fair share of domestic and international buyers and remains one of the world’s priciest. Over the last year, the company tracked the location of visitors on its site searching for housing and raked the countries. It found the biggest mover was Russia, which jumped from No. 20 on their top searchers list in 2015, to No. 2 last year, landing just behind the United Kingdom. David Walker, TripleMint’s CEO, told CNBC, the results were somewhat surprising, taking place during a volatile period in U.S./Russia relations. The country is being hammered by accusations of hacking as well as electoral meddling. He said the results were a surprise to his company.

“We had no idea that we were going to find that. It was fascinating seeing this data and how much search traffic has picked up from Russia.”

Walker is a Yale University graduate. He founded TripleMint with classmate Philip Lang in 2013. The company recently raised $4.5 million in Series A funding, landing the company’s total funding at over $7 million. As for the company’s findings, they were consistent with other data showing a steady influx of foreign buyers keeping demand and prices at frothy levels. In 2016, the National Association of Realtors said international buyers purchased $102.6 billion of residential property in the U.S. between April 2015 and March 2016.  Britain’s Brexit vote likely fueled an influx of searches. It shows how policy shifts and news can impact where people want to live.  Walker calls the data collected by the company its “secret sauce.” It uses indicators and algorithms to predict which properties will come on the market before they do. Walker added the company also wants to use it to help clear up market misinformation.

“One of the problems in our industry is that there is a lack focus on knowledge, education and transparency for the client.”

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