Argentina’s Real Estate Ready to Tango

Buenos Aires is one of the best places in the world right now to buy property.  According to the article “Argentina’s Ready to Tango,” written in January 2007 for The Sunday Times, Buenos Aires offers the best of cosmopolitan life without the high prices of London.  Flats in Buenos Aires are much cheaper than ones in London, due in part to the crash in 2002 when they devalued by 50 percent.  While they have recovered since then, prices are still impressively low and property is a bargain.

Puerto Madero is the hottest area in Buenos Aires to buy property.  Cranes dot its horizon and the red-brick warehouses that line the river have been turned into swanky restaurants and shops.  A new apartment complex, El Aleph, is due to open there in 2009 and the flats will be for sale for 150,000 pounds each.  In the recent past, flats in this ritzy neighborhood have ranged from 110,000 to 600,000 pounds.

Cheaper but with its own special personality, San Telmo is another real estate option in Buenos Aires.  The article sites a couple who bought an apartment in Monserrat for 30,000 pounds, fixed it up, and now it is valued at 55,000 pounds.  They rent it to the tourists who come to Buenos Aires to enjoy the cheap cost of living.  Another district in the city, Palermo is more up-market than San Telmo and is home to the city’s polo grounds and racetracks, not to mention beautiful parks and shop-lined thoroughfares.  A duplex flat there costs around 250,000 pounds.

Buenos Aires is a great place to live and buy property, but buyers are not limiting themselves to the city.  Mendoza province, Argentina’s major wine-growing region, is a popular place to buy land and is an hour flight away from Buenos Aires.  One British couple bought a 19th century house with a guest lodge and 60 acres for 100,000 pounds.  They noted how easy it was to buy property as non-residents; it was much easier than in Britain.  The Duchess of York also owns land in Mendoza—specifically a plot in a 2,000-acre vineyard estate.

Around the city of Buenos Aires, within 50 to 100 miles, are numerous country clubs.  These gated communities have polo centers, swimming pools, water sports, and golf courses.  Plots in such a community start at 50,000 pounds and have been snapped up by people like Tommy Lee Jones, the actor.  Another option near Buenos Aires is property in Uruguay in the city Punta del Este.  The Miami of Uruguay and the place rich Argentines go to enjoy the beach in the summer, property there is not as cheap but it is certainly beautiful.  In a new apartment complex there by Rafael Viñoly 300 sq foot apartments went for 450,000 pounds.

Written in 2007, the article was already cautioning prospective buyers to move fast, since real estate prices were continuing to rise.  By October of 2006, prices had already risen around 37 percent that year.  The article also notes that real estate purchases made in Argentina are made in dollars, giving people from Britain an edge with the powerful pound.  It’s an edge the pound has yet to lose.

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