Lifestyle House Hunting in Argentina could get you a bargain, but wait six months and you will miss out

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The housing market has sharply declined along with the Argentine peso in many of the prime lifestyle locations in Argentina over the past few years, but now there is a new paradigm.  Javier Milei, Argentina’s new liberal president, is changing the rules, and we expect Argentina to boom after a serious adjustment.


A good example is what is happening in Mendoza. Luján de Cuyo is a small town in the western province, a wine-producing region celebrated for its abundant Malbec grapes.

It sits at the eastern foot of the Andes Mountains, in the high-altitude vineyards of the upper Mendoza valley. The area is known for its Malbec but also produces other high-quality varieties of wine.  The centre of the city of Mendoza is only about 25 minutes away. The mountainous area also offers hiking, horseback riding, boating, and skiing. Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport in Mendoza is only a 40-minute drive. In short a wine-lover paradise.

Like the rest of the housing market in Argentina, Mendoza’s real estate has been “strongly impacted” by the country’s currency collapse.

Prices in the past few months have dropped and are still weak in USD.

Investors, typically the most common buyers for lifestyle vineyards, are still “reluctant to invest in Argentina,” many foreigners have sold their assets in past years. There are still a lot of properties for sale, but too few buyers.

At Algodon Wine Estates, a wellness, golf, tennis and equestrian resort with coveted backyard vineyards, only six or seven houses have been finished in phase one of development, out of approximately 97 lots that range from half an acre to seven acres and start at $120,000.

The most popular locations with foreign and luxury buyers are “without a doubt” private gated communities with “beautiful amenities, with 24/7 security.

Condominiums are plentiful and popular in the region. “They are widely requested by an ascending socioeconomic class, particularly with buyers between 35 and 45 seeking round-the-clock private security and a “premium lifestyle.” Units of around 120 m2 to 130 m2 sell for USD 180,000 to USD 200,000.

The Opportunity

The landscape has never looked better for investors who like to look for countercyclical opportunities. The upcoming elections next year have created hope in the market that has been depressed under the Kirchner-influenced regime for some years and will be replaced by the current business-friendly opposition, which is highly likely. Argentina’s success today in the World Football finals has also boosted the local population’s morale.

Tourism has returned after COVID-19 in numbers never seen before. Many of these visitors will love the country and want to live there.

The fear was that the previous Peronist/K  government would stay in power and drive the country’s path again towards Venezuela as some of the main Peronists involved have been removed, jailed or have lost favour. This now has not happened.

For those able to move quickly, the opportunity to buy in one of the most attractive locations in the Southern Hemisphere is still there.

A change in government has changed everything with our best legal advice saying.

“We are expecting changes in all relevant Government agencies; therefore, I would expect that the land and border zones laws should be amended and transfer of lands to foreigners should be possible in the next few months, as it won´t be a first priority before March/April”.

I will keep you posted as soon as this happens.

In the North West of Argentina, foreign lifestyle buyers are mainly from Brazil and Chile, with many North Americans in the mix.

The Europeans and Americans who buy in the area usually prefer “fincas” — estates or rural properties.

Damian Tabakman, dean of the EN Real Estate School of Business in Buenos Aires, was quoted as saying that several gated real estate developments with vineyards previously drew foreigners to Mendoza, but “nowadays, because of the local economic situation, only Argentines are the buyers there now.”

Noting that Argentina’s economy has historically cycled through booms and busts, however, Mr Tabakman expressed optimism about the future: “I hope that Mendoza will be able to have foreign buyers again, from Europe and the U.S.A., because projects there are similar to what you may find in Napa Valley.”

Dollars, not Argentine pesos, are used for pricing and transactions in Argentina.

Among the requirements for foreign buyers are “a corresponding visa, an ID provided by the government of Argentina and an address certificate provided by the province of Mendoza.

Argentina restricts properties close to a national border or on a lake. In Mendoza, buying properties west of Ruta 40, a highway that runs the length of Argentina and bisects the city of Mendoza, requires authorization from the Ministry of the Interior. Due to national land laws, properties over 1,000 ha are generally unavailable for foreign purchasers.

Closing or Settlement costs run close to 10 per cent of the sale price; that includes a 2.5 per cent stamp tax and about 3 per cent for notary fees and deed expenses. Depending on the property’s location, the buyer and seller each pay a 3% to 4% commission to the real estate brokers.

 

Contact the Gateway to South America team to learn about the best investment opportunities in the region. The company is a benchmark for foreign investors wishing to invest in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, providing expert advice on property acquisition.

www.gatewaytosouthamerica.com


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About Geoffrey W W McRae

With a highly distinguished career spanning more than three decades across five different countries, New Zealander Geoffrey McRae has established himself as a leading authority on South American real estate, agricultural, and commercial matters. As the founder of Gateway to South America – a real estate consulting group specialising in six South American countries – Geoffrey has developed a reputation for discretion, expertise, and experience that has seen him represent some of the most prestigious clients in the region. His deep knowledge and experience of South American markets have placed him at the forefront of the industry and given him the opportunity to guide and advise with confidence and surety. His long and successful career – which continues to evolve and expand daily – is a testament to his talent, tenacity, and ambition.

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